Hagihon provides wastewater management to illegal Israeli settlements, appropriates Palestinian wastewater and natural resources, and handles water infrastructure across occupied East Jerusalem. The company is involved in several Israeli high national priority projects including the Kedron Stream restoration project and the construction and expansion of the Jerusalem Light Rail.
The Kedron stream restoration project
As of 2020, Hagihon takes part in the restoration of the Kedron stream in the occupied West Bank. The project is worth more than NIS 800 million, done in cooperation with the Water Authority-Mekorot, the Coordinator of Government Operations in the West Bank (COGAT), the Jerusalem Municipality, Jerusalem Sewage Treatment Plants Ltd (JWPE), the Civil Administration (ICA) and the Prime Minister’s Office. The project aims to stop the sewage flow to the stream and lay a collection line. This line will drain the sewage for several kilometers, including the Palestinian Authority’s sewage through an eight-kilometer pipe to Og purification facility located in the Jordan Valley in the Occupied West Bank.
The project also includes the construction of a hydroelectric station that will generate green electricity. The purified water will be used for agriculture and irrigation of palm groves in the Dead Sea area, in the Jordan Valley and in the Palestinian Authority.
Since 2008, the Jordan Valley Water Association, a settlement water cooperative, has been operating an unauthorized facility near Kedron Stream that diverts the wastewater for settler use in date crops irrigation. In December 2015, Hagihon signed an agreement with the Jordan Valley Water Association to upgrade the unauthorized facility, stating that Hagihon will pay the cooperative in order to remove the solid waste from the wastewater.
A 2016 report by Israel’s state audit mentions the intention of the Jordan Valley Water Association’s intention to close the facility in Horkanya Valley near the Kedron Stream.
In 2020, a report by the Israeli Water authority showed that the Jordan Valley Water Association still holds property in the area of the Kedron Valley.
Infrastructure and Water Projects in Jerusalem
Hagihon takes part in the development of different infrastructure projects in Jerusalem including the development of new infrastructures for the Jerusalem Light rail, connecting Jerusalem with several settlement neighborhoods.
Hagihon has a NIS 17.4 million sewage expansion project across Jerusalem including occupied East Jerusalem. As for 2021-2022, the project’s costs are NIS 5 million and include connecting Palestinian neighborhoods like Umm Lisun and Umm Tuba to sewage networks. In addition to developing sewage systems in the neighborhood of Shu’afat, and developing new sewage systems on road 201 passing through Beit Hanina.
Hagihon has a NIS 36.6 million sewage pipeline replacement project. In 2021-2022, the company allocated NIS 9 million for the replacement of sewage pipelines in occupied East Jerusalem Neighborhoods beyond the Separation Wall including Kufur Aqab, Ras Khamis and Anata.
Water Management projects:
In 2022, Hagihon’s budget for the expansion of water networks projects across Jerusalem was NIS 36 million. The Company developed water systems for new neighborhoods including Ramat Shlomo and Gilo neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem as part of a ‘Master Plan’ for Jerusalem water and transportation, including paving new roads project by the Israeli Department of Transportation, Moriah Jerusalem Development Corporation and the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction.
The company developed water systems in different roads and neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, Including Abu Tour bypass road, road 201 Beit Hanina North, and Road 122 Shu’afat, Almaruha, El Hilil A. Sakachini, and El Bruni in Beit Hanina, Umm Tuba- Agrot, Beit Safafa- El Ahuad, Issawiya Entrance Road, and Atarot.
In 2020, the company also developed water systems for road 4370 also knowns as the American Road, which connects settlements in the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem, and Road 18 in Sur Baher in southern East Jerusalem.
In 2022, the company replaced water line networks in Jerusalem with a budget of NIS 47.7 million. Hagihon planned replacing water pipelines in various settlement neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem including Neve Ya’akov neighborhood, French Hill neighborhood, Gilo neighborhood, in addition to various sites in the Old City of Jerusalem such as Jewish and Christian quarters, Damascus Gate and a section of Hagai Street, the Greek Patriarchate, Beit Hanina and Shuafat.
Hagihon allocated NIS 290,000 for the construction of pressure reduction devices in Wadi Qaddum in Silwan and NIS 400,000 in 2020 for al Tur neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Company completed the upgrade of two pumping stations in Ramot and Gilo Settlement neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem for a budget of NIS 1.1 million for each station. The upgrade began in 2021, in accordance with the requirements of the master plan for Jerusalem – 2040. The station aims to provide a solution to the increase in water consumption in both neighborhoods.
The Company also carried out a NIS 1.46 million project for the installment of water meters in occupied East Jerusalem. The project aims to reduce water lost, prevent water theft and increase payment collection rates in East Jerusalem.
In 20200, Hagihon carried out collection pools purification worth NIS 6 million in Homat Shmuel, Gilo, Ramot, and Neve Ya’akov settlement neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Light Rail project and road construction services
In 2022, Hagihon has planned to carry out NIS 65.8 million projects to replace water lines that interfere with road construction or other development projects. The company intends to replace water lines with diameters between 6″ and 32″ as part of Moriah Jerusalem Development company’s work on the Green and Blue Line of the Jerusalem light rail. In addition, Hagihon takes part in several construction projects commissioned by Moriah including French Hill Junction, Umm Leeson – Road 1, Atarot parking lot, Jabel Mukaber and Asher Wiener Streets.
Between 2016 and 2021, Hagihon received NIS 35.7 million from the Israeli Water Authority to provide water beyond the Separation Wall. Palestinian neighborhoods such as Ras Khamis, Ras Shhadi, Al Salam and Shu’afat refugee camp suffer from poor water infrastructure and services. In 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court assigned the responsibility of installing and upgrading water pipelines in these neighborhoods to Hagihon, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Israeli Government Water and Sewage Authority, and the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Water and Energy. As of 2021, 94% of these neighborhoods’ residents reported that they still suffer from lack of supply and water shortage, having to pay and maintain for alternative water supply systems.
In 2020, Hagihon received NIS 300,000 from the Ministry of Housing and Construction for the maintenance and drainage of sewage systems in Har Homa settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.
In 2020, the Ministry of Housing and Construction paid NIS 300,000 for the maintenance and drainage of sewage systems in Har Homa settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.
In 2016, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the occupied Territories (COGAT) paid Hagihon NIS 25,000 for connecting water pipes in Rachel Tomb, a religious Jewish site northern of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
In 2016, the Israeli Prison Services paid Hagihon NIS 15,777 for water and sewage services in Jerusalem.
Involvement of Subsidiary- Jerusalem Sewage Treatment Plants Ltd. (JWPE):
As of 2021, the company’s subsidiary JWPE purifies the sewage for several settlements including Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Zeev, Beitar Illit, New Givhon, Mount Gilo (Har Gilo), Ma’ale Adumim, Mitzpe Jericho, Kfar Adumim, Anatot, Adam, and Alon, as well as Palestinian towns in occupied West Bank including Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Bir Nabala, Al-ram, Al-Jib, Anata and Hizma.
JWPE owns the Homat Shmuel (Har Homa) purification plant, opened in 2014 and processes sewage from the Har Homa settlement neighborhood and the Palestinian neighborhoods of Sur Baher and Umm Tuba in occupied East Jerusalem. The treated water is used for irrigation of public parks throughout Jerusalem.
The company owns the Sorek sewage treatment plant, treating 90,000 cubic meters of sewage per day. It is the third largest plant in Israel; the plant receives sewage from settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Beitar Illit, Givat Zeev and Gush Etzion. It also treats sewage from the Palestinian towns of Beit Jala, Bir Nabala, Bethlehem and Al-Ram. The treated water is used in irrigation for agriculture in Israeli towns within the Green Line. The purification process is also used to generate electricity through biogas, generating over 12 million KW annually.
In 2019, JWPE purchased the Og water purification plant for NIS 73 million from Mekorot’s Subsidiary, Mekorot Development and Enterprise. The plant, located in the occupied West Bank, was built under a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) agreement for NIS 85 million, it started operating in 2014 by Mekorot Development and Enterprise and treated 9 million cubic meter of wastewater.
The Og plant treats wastewater from northern East Jerusalem and from Maale Adumim settlement and the Mateh Binyamin settlement regional council. The treated water is used primarily to irrigate date palm orchards in settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley.
Palestinian De-development/ Captive Market
Hagihon holds the Palestinian water sector as a captive market and exploits the natural resources of the occupied West Bank. The company does so by selling water to the Palestinian Authority and the Ramallah water plant. Through its subsidiary, JWPE, the company appropriates Palestinian wastewater, provides it for illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, and reuses it within the Green Line while restricting Palestinian communities’ access to water. This violates international laws, among them the 4th Geneva Convention, which states that the transfer of an occupying power’s population to settlements in an occupied land is illegal, and it cannot acquire sovereignty over an occupied land or its resources.
Hagihon Company is also responsible for supplying water within the Jerusalem Municipality, including to Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. However, residents of Ras Khamis, Ras Shahada, Dahyat a-Salam, and the Shuafat Refugee Camp, which have been cut off from the rest of the city by the construction of the Separation Wall, suffer from a chronic water crisis. In 2014, residents petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice after the company stopped the regular supply of water, leaving an estimated 60,000-80,000 Palestinians without regular running water.