• Issue: April 1965
  • Designer: Z. Narkiss
  • Plate no.: 146
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The National Water Carrier

The completion of Israel's principal water project - the National Water Carrier - which created a unified supply system for the whole country, marked the culmination of a development begun in the late thirties with the founding of "Mekorot." The National Water Carrier began operating in 1964. By 1995 it carried some 30 million cu.m. of water from Lake Kinneret as far as the Northern Negev.

The water is brought by means of an underwater pipe from Lake Tiberias to a large pumping station on the shores of the lake, near Tabga. The water is then pumped 256 meters up to the Jordan canal. The 16-kilometer-long Jordan canal passes through two deep gorges, Wadi Amud and Wadi Tsalmon, respectively 150 meters and 80 meters deep. The steel pipes, or siphons, in which the water passes through the two wadis, vary between 3.1 and 3.6 meters in diameter. The canal ends in a large reservoir at Tsalmon, the site of the second pumping station. Here the water is again raised a further 150 meters into a short canal flowing to the opening of the 850-meter-long Elabun tunnel. From there the water enters the Bet Netufa canal and flows 17 1/2 kilometers until it reaches the 108-inch pipeline (2.74 meters interior diameter). On its way from Bet Netufa to Rosh ha-Ayin the pipeline goes through three tunnels: Shimron - 1.5 kilometers; Menashe A - 6.5 kilometers; and Menashe B - 350 meters. There the National Water Carrier connects with the Yarkon-Negev project at a special station built at Rosh ha-Ayin. Through the Yarkon-Negev lines, the water continues southward. The length of the carrier from Lake Tiberias to Rosh ha-Ayin is 130 kilometers.

Total earthwork - 7,000,000 m3, rock blasted away - 1,700,000 m3, concrete poured 500,000 m3, steel in pipes and structures 75,000 tons; concrete and steel pipes laid - 15,000; man-days used - 2,500,000; maximum daily number of workers employed during peak periods - 4,000. (Courtesy of "Mekorot" Water Company Ltd.)

For 27 years "Mekorot" steadily built Israel's regional water projects in the northern, central and southern regions. The territory is now crisscrossed by pipelines of various diameters and lengths, which expanded from year to year. Separate pipe networks became interconnected and incorporated bore holes, pumping stations, storage and operational reservoirs, intake works and other hydraulic structures. All these were part of the effort to exploit the country's water resources and to provide an assured supply to the countryside and towns. With the construction of the Yarkon-Negev scheme in the early fifties a major centrally controlled water supply was provided in the central and southern regions, which irrigated hundreds of farming settlements and industrial plants, as far south as Mizpeh Ramon and Arad. The National Water Carrier now connects the separate supply networks of the north and south into one grid of which the Carrier is the main artery. Its construction gave a new flexibility and unprecedented manipulating facilities for ensuring a regular supply of water.

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