CBNNews.com - TEL AVIV, Israel - Israel's Agriculture Ministry warns that the construction of a light rail route between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem could pose serious problems on several fronts.
While the ministry's main concern is flood drainage for the Ayalon River, there are also concerns about damage to Ayalon Valley farmland.
Large quantities of earth excavated for the tunnels that will be built for the train along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway would be dumped in several sites in the Ayalon Valley.
"The Ayalon Valley has a big reservoir intended as a catch basin for a large portion of the flood runoff in the rivers, including the Ayalon," said Neta Feinstein, who oversees drainage and ground preservation in the lowland district for the Agriculture Ministry.
"The reservoir plays a critical role in preventing flooding in the Dan region [which includes metropolitan Tel Aviv]," she said.
According to Feinstein, transferring large quantities of earth to areas in the valley near the reservoir would affect its ability to absorb floodwaters, thereby increasing the possibility of flooding in Tel Aviv neighborhoods.
"Recent years have seen increasing amounts of water during a flooding of the Ayalon region," Feinstein said. "That is why we believe that only one site in the Ayalon Valley can be used [for the excavated earth]," she said.
But Israel Railways said it has researched all the options for the excavated soil and reduced the area where they will dump the earth "to prevent endangering the region's drainage system."
They also said they will "take all precautions to prevent damaging farmland in the area" and they would "carry out reclamation activities after burying the earth so as not to harm its current use."