No Pipe Dream to Save a Stream, Says Parks Authority

The Jezreel Spring at the foot of the Gilboa Mountains has been dry for the last seven years as a result of drought and of the growing exploitation of water sources by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But recently the spring once again filled with water, and visitors can now enjoy it, thanks to the efforts of the local water authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, which have brought in water from other sources.

The INPA has found itself faced with springs and nature reserves drying out over the past two years. To deal with the situation it has started to identify alternative available water sources and use them to save nature sites. "In the case of the Jezreel Spring, the site is not a nature reserve but is managed by the Jewish National Fund," said Nissim Keshet of the INPA. "But we decided to act to rehabilitate it so that the nature at site, including the characteristic plants and animals there can continue to exist."

The Harod regional water authority transfered water from local wells via a pipe laid especially for the purpose, and in return were granted other water sources, explained Keshet. "The volume of the flow matched the natural flow of the spring. The water is overflowing the pool next to the spring and waters a neighboring garden, after that the water flows into the Harod Stream," he added.

The INPA completed another, similar project a few months ago with a pipe to transfer water from the Dan Spring to the Ayoun Stream near Metulla. The Ayoun Stream had dried up due to the pumping of water from its northern part in Lebanon, and the year-round waterfall had dried out and disappeared. Now the waterfall is back due to the piped-in water. In this case, the main beneficiaries are the hikers who enjoy the return of the original landscape.

The case of the Arugot and David streams at Ein Gedi is somewhat different. Here the INPA lets the water flow down the canyons and then near the bottom it is pumped out for human use. A pipe used to pump out water from the David Stream for the use of Kibbutz Ein Gedi was removed as part of this project, and now the water flows almost to the bottom of the stream, and has renewed the waterfall in this part - and only then is the water pumped out for the kibbutz's use.

The INPA is also examining using water from a few groundwater wells to provide fresh water to the middle section of the stream and help rehabilitate the stream's ecology. For now, only treated sewage flows in that part of the stream. But the INPA has not been successful everywhere. The Bezet Stream in the north, one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the Galilee, is still suffering from drought and only receives tiny allocations of water from the National Water Carrier. "The situation is the same as last year, and only if there is a rainy winter will the situation improve," said Keshet.