Mekorot Israel National Water Co. and the Israel Water Authority today launched the "Reverse Water Carrier" project in the north. The project will allow desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea to flow inland to Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The aim of the project, which has been set up at a cost of NIS 1 billion, is to maintain the level of the Kinneret in dry and low rainfall years.
Most of the water, which today flows out of the taps in Israeli homes comes from desalination plants and not from the Kinneret, but the level of the Kinneret is important as the country's emergency reservoir for water, as well as in ecological terms.
In addition, even during drought years, Israel has continued to supply water from the Kinneret to Jordan, as part of the peace agreement between the two countries. Recently, Israel agreed to double the amount of water it supplies to Jordan to about 100 million cubic meters annually, making the need to maintain Kinneret's level even more critical.
A succession of drought years
The idea of channeling desalinated seawater to the north, reversing the flow in the national carrier, was conceived in recent years following a series of drought years. Between 2013 and 2018, the level of the Kinneret dropped consistently until it reached the "black line" - 213 meters below sea level - the level from which pumping water for the needs of the economy was halted. Today the Sea of Galilee is fuller, after several wet winters, with the level almost 250 centimeters above the "black line," - about 170 centimeters below being full. Therefore, according to professional sources, there is no immediate need to operate the project and stream water back into the Kinneret.
Work on the project began four years ago at the best of then Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz. The project will allow the maximum streaming of 120 million cubic meters of water back into the Kinneret. After the cabinet agreed to promote the project, Mekorot's implementation arm EMS began working on the plan.
The first stage of the project included a 30 kilometer pipeline from the Eshkol pumping station near Nahal Zalmon. In the second stage of the project, which will be completed in the coming years, four pumping stations and ponds will be built in the Rosh Ha'ayin area, which together will enable the conveyance of excess water from new desalination plants, boreholes and other sources to the north, also along the existing national water carrier.
"Out of the Box solutions
Israel Water Authority director Yehezkel Lifshitz said, "The project we have launched today proves that Israel is leading in innovative thinking and a creative planning approach to dealing with the effects of climate change, while ensuring a sustainable water supply, safeguarding Israel's natural resources and maintaining the Kinneret as a strategic buffer for the State of Israel."
Mekorot CEO Amit Lang added, "The climate crisis and global warming have given rise to out of the box solutions, while the project inaugurated today is of operational and strategic significance, and one that will allow us to maintain the levels in the national lake, as well as the ability to maintain a constant flow of water to neighboring countries."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 27, 2022.
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