Israelian water authorities inaugurated on Tuesday an avant-garde project to replenish the Sea of Galilee with water from the country’s desalination plants, reports The Times of Israel.
The objective of the project is to maintain the Sea of Galilee, once a major source of freshwater, with a high level of water, even during dry years.
Smart Water Magazine reported in May that Israel’s National Water Company Mekorot, had announced it was working to replenish the lake with desalinated water, the first project of its kind in the world.
Water Authority Director Yehezkel Lifshitz said the project “proves that Israel is leading in innovative thinking and a creative planning approach to dealing with the effects of climate change, while guaranteeing a sustainable water supply, safeguarding Israel’s natural resources and maintaining the Sea of Galilee as a strategic buffer.”
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The project was initiated 7 years ago with a total cost of NIS 900 million ($264 million).
As part of the plan, Mekorot constructed a 13-kilometre (8-mile) underground pipe connecting the lake to infrastructure that in turn links to five desalination plants on the Mediterranean coast.
Water now flows into the lake through the Tzalmon stream, which drains into the Sea of Galilee near Kibbutz Ginosar on its northwestern shore. Currently, the system is not being used as the Sea of Galilee has sufficient water levels. Mekorot chairman Yitzhak Aharonovich said that “the ability to pipe water into the Sea of Galilee will maintain the level of the national lake and give Mekorot the ability to control water reservoirs even in difficult times.”
Mekorot CEO Amit Lang added that the climate crisis has given rise to “out-of-the-box solutions” and lauded the project as being “of operational and strategic significance, allowing us to maintain the levels in the national lake, as well as the ability to maintain a constant flow of water to neighbouring countries.”
Mekorot describes the project on its website: “Mekorot has embarked on a national infrastructure project to preserve the Kinneret as a strategic water source for the water economy. This objective forces us to think in “reverse”: for the first time in Israel’s history, the water flow in the National Water Carrier is being reversed from south to north instead of north to south.”