Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bringing Water to Jerusalem

Hillel Fendel

The National Infrastructures Planning Commission has approved a proposal for a fifth water line, designed to meet Jerusalem's water needs until 2065. The project has been submitted to the government for its approval.
In light of the project's urgency, the Mekorot Water Company is preparing to begin work as soon as the government approves it. If the new line is not built, water shortages will begin to be felt in the capital and environs as early as four years from now.

The four existing water lines supply the city from north, east, south and west. The new line will roughly parallel the western line, beginning in Hulda, northwest of Beit Shemesh, and ending in Beit Zayit dam area. Its planning takes ecological concerns into account, ensuring minimal damage to open areas and detailing how the construction damages will be rectified.

Jerusalem's new water piping route is expected to provide 150 million cubic meters of water a year, including desalinated water, and thus double the city's supply.

The new line will provide "operative flexibility," the proposal states, and will enable a reduction in the amount of water drawn from the Mountain Aquifer. The project is also expected to save on energy costs, and will improve the reliability of the water supply by creating a separation of pressure areas.

Historically Speaking
Supplying Jerusalem with water has historically been a complex and sensitive matter, from Biblical times through the Roman conquest and up to the War of Independence in 1948. The intricate network of ancient aqueducts, tunnels, pools and cisterns found in and under the Holy City attests to the efforts invested in providing it with water.


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