Water is a precious commodity in Israel. When it rains, it is viewed as a blessing from God. While most of Israel’s rains (and snows, especially this year) fall primarily between the months of December through April (sometimes only from January through March), the rest of the year (May – October/November) is dry. In fact, as my guide (Shlomo) always says, if you were holding an outdoor event anytime in the summer, your invitation would say, “outdoor picnic … ‘shine or shine.'”
There are only a few places in Israel where naturally-flowing water can be seen all year around. One of these locations is up north at the foot of Mt. Hermon. Here, three tributaries of the Jordan River begin, one of which is at the city of ancient Dan. Even in the heat of summer, this water flows rapidly. In the spring, along with the melting snow from Mt. Hermon, the amount of water is astonishing. From the spring located here, 238 million cubic meters of water annually.
The third place where water still flows from ancient days is the City of David in Jerusalem. Here, the Gihon Spring still flows as it did in the days of David, Solomon, and the Judean kings. Being a intermittent spring, the water was used not only as the primary source for drinking water, but the water was also used to irrigate the Kidron Valley. In the days of Hezekiah, the water from the spring was actually diverted through a 1,720 foot tunnel to the southern area of the city within the city fortification walls. A highlight of all my trips is to walk through this tunnel with flashlights through the same water that flowed here from days long before even David conquered the city from the Jebusites.
While there are other natural springs and sources of water in Israel, none of which has an ample supply of water for the whole country, Israel’s latest efforts have focused upon the process of desalinization.
Desalinization is a technology that will begin to solve Israel’s water problems. In a recent article (view HERE). Ben Sales, the author of the article, writes, “Drawn from deep in the Mediterranean Sea, the water has flowed through pipelines reaching almost 4,000 feet off of Israel’s coast and, once in Israeli soil, buried almost 50 feet underground. Now, it rushes down a tube sending it through a series of filters and purifiers. After 90 minutes, it will be ready to run through the faucets of Tel Aviv.”
Sales continues the exciting news, “Set to begin operating as soon as next month, Israel Desalination Enterprises Technologies’ Sorek Desalination Plant will provide up to 26,000 cubic meters – or nearly 7 million gallons – of potable water to Israelis every hour. When it’s at full capacity, it will be the largest desalination plant of its kind in the world.”