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Bringing Israelís Freshwater Streams Back to Life: KKL-JNFís Sustainable Development Policy

Restoration Principles

 

The Economic Principle

Stream rehabilitation has positive economic implications, albeit these take time to be realized and reach fruition. Rehabilitated streams offer potential hubs for tourism-based economic initiative. The adva ntages of these and other effects, such as improvement of adjacent property values, reinforcement of the tourism, leisure, and recreation industries, and flood prevention, are part of the economic returns associated with the streamsí rehabilitation.

Stream rehabilitation makes a formidable contribution to Israel ís tourism infrastructure. Some of Israel ís freshwater streams serve as venues for historical and / or religious events, and thereby have the potential for becoming first-order international tourist sites. As such, their rehabilitation directly strengthens Israel ís tourism industry and creates important attractions for both domestic and international tourism.

In light of Israel ís unstable rainfall regime, the economic and human damage caused by flooding is considerable. If the climatic forecasts of a rise in the intensity of Israel ís rains as a result of global warming prove true, flood damage in the future could grow even worse. The KKL-JNF shall ascertain that every stream restoration plan relates to reducing flood damage, and shall ensure the contiguity of monitored channel and water flow in stretches where flooding has occurred in the past. Any rehabilitation plan must integrate drainage needs and include a detailed maintenance plan that includes monitoring and testing.

The KKL-JNF will treat upper drainage basins through the planting of forest trees and vegetation whose role will be the intake of runoff, thus minimizing the danger of flooding and preventing the need for costly drainage and channeling work. Other benefits will accrue from the use of landscape and scenery in the forests that lie above the streamsí drainage basins. The KKL-JNF will strive to use the entire the watershed in its drainage strategy, together with its efforts to improve groundwater reserves.

As a matter of principle, the KKL-JNF opposes quarrying activity along streams.

In recent years, despite the rise in public awareness and that of decision-makers regarding the importance of stream rehabilitation, the issue has not progressed as it should have, due to chronic budget problems. The KKL-JNF supports the creation of new funding mechanisms and foundations that shall ensure restoration activity as well as ongoing maintenance, testing, and monitoring. Similar to Israel ís Quarry Rehabilitation Fund, it is important to ensure that development activity that exacerbates water pollution or that is based on water resource exploitation is calculated into restoration budgets in the form of an environmental compensation fee or taxation items.

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