Beer Sheva, Israel
When unilateral environmental solutions fail, environmental degradation is the norm, grievances of the local communities are exacerbated, and the dire need for cooperation and joint management presents itself as a necessity. A fact reaffirmed to a group of Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders participating in a Cross Border visit of Wadi Hebron to Beer Sheva under EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbours Project.
A case in point is the grievances of the historic Bedouin village of Umm Battin. Located to the northeast of the Negev’s Metropolitan Be’er Sheva, and home to 5.000 people, a polluted river of sewage runs through the heart of the village.
The industrial sewage and dangerous chemicals from Hebron tannery factories, and from Kiryat Arba settlement pose a health hazard to the residents of the village.
The successful operation of the Shoket Waste Water Treatment Plant, the second stop during the visit, is highly reliant on joint management and monitoring of sewage from the Israeli and the Palestinian side and on resolving issues of the Hebron Stream. Left unattended, the pollution of the stream is a threat to the shared ground water sources.
But when there is a will, there is a way. A tour at the Beer Shiva River Park reveals that wise management coupled with a long term vision and a strong will create life in the midst of an arid desert. Irrigated with semi clean water, what was once a dumping point is now a green recreational park enjoyed by all.
This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma Media & PR Officer
Media Department/ Amman office
For the visits picture album, click here