Floods in the Negev & Arava Amazing Scenes & Heavy Damage

KKL-JNF teams in the south are checking the damages and helping to clear roads to settlements and agricultural land, in order to offer initial first aid to all the cut-off settlements, from Yotvata to Idan. We spoke with KKL-JNF teams in the field, headed by the director of the Southern Region Ami Uliel, Deputy Director of the Southern Region Itzik Moshe, and the regional director of the Operation

By KKL
January 21, 2010 09:22
flood

flood. (photo credit: KKL)

The massive floods which swept the Negev and Arava in recent days were unheard of, compared to previous years. Alongside the breathtaking scenes of rushing water and roads turned into running rivers heavy damage was caused to life and infrastructures.  The bodies of two persons drowned in the floods were pulled out of the rushing waters; connecting roads to settlements as well as agricultural roads were destroyed. Bridges collapsed and heavy damage was caused to hothouses and orchards.  Floodwater reservoirs built by KKL-JNF in the area with the support of its Friends from around the world, were all filled to overflowing and several were badly damaged.

KKL-JNF teams in the south are checking the damages and helping to clear roads to settlements and agricultural land, in order to offer initial first aid to all the cut-off settlements, from Yotvata to Idan. We spoke with KKL-JNF teams in the field, headed by the director of the Southern Region Ami Uliel, Deputy Director of the Southern Region Itzik Moshe, and the regional director of the Operations Unit in the Otmazgin, about the damages and rehabilitation work needed.

The principal damage was to floodwater reservoirs, which are different in nature to closed reservoirs storing recycled water. A floodwater reservoir is built like an open reservoir and on its side has a spillway. When floods occur the dam fills up and the surplus water flows on via the spillway.  The challenge facing planners of water reservoirs in the Arava is to build them in a way that takes into account the vast economic costs against the off chance that they will be damaged by rare floods in the region.  It can thus happen that a reservoir with a certain storage capacity can be damaged during a major flood by waters flowing into it over and above its capacity to hold them.


The following are details of the damage caused by the recent floods.

Zukim Reservoir - the reservoir filled to the brim. Because the powerful floods poured in exceptionally large volumes of water exceeding the reservoir's storage capacity, heavy damage was caused to its embankments and infrastructure around the reservoir. Its infrastructure will have to be rehabilitated and its embankments strengthened. The reservoir and its surroundings were established with the help of KKL-JNF friends in the , and .

Eshet Reservoir - was filled to overflowing without any damage to the reservoir. But damage was inflicted to the access roads to the reservoir and these will have to be repaired. The reservoir was built with help of KKL-JNF America Friends.

Nikrot Reservoir in Ein Yahav - The reservoir filled to overflowing. On the reservoir's spillway, the water washed away the paved road leading from Ein Yahav to Hatzeva as well as all the farm roads leading to the hothouses. The embankments will have to be strengthened and the roads washed away by the floods rehabilitated. Land reclamation for the farms at Ein Yahav was made possible with the help of KKL-JNF Friends in the , and .

Hatzeva Reservoir - The reservoir filled to the brim. Damage was caused to the access roads leading to the reservoir and to the spillway at its embankment. The waters eroded the outer side of the embankment which will have to be strengthened and the roads to the reservoir repaired.

Idan Reservoir - Considerable damage was caused to the reservoir's spillway which completely crumbled. A truck which sank entirely into the mud, from which four persons were safely rescued, is still stuck into the side of the reservoir. The Mekorot Water Company's infrastructure at the pumping station located on the top of the reservoir's embankment completely collapsed, as did the electric pole near the reservoir.  All the roads surrounding the reservoir have to be repaired. The sides of the outer embankment were eroded by the rushing water and they will have to be repaired and strengthened. Idan Reservoir was established with the support of KKL Friends in .

Neot Temarim Reservoir – the reservoir filled up. Damage was caused to the access roads and to the outer sides of the reservoir's embankment. Basic restoration works are needed. Neot Temarim Reservoir was established with the support of KKL-JNF Friends in and .

Nahal Lavan-Nitzana Reservoir - The reservoir filled to overflowing. Lavan dam, at the time it was built, was planned lower than required to store water in the reservoir and the massive flood waters flowed out from the reservoir's spillway. The reservoir and the spillway were undamaged and they are holding the harvested water. Minor damage was caused to the spillway – a small break in the connection between the dam and the canal ducting water to the reservoir. The local council is preparing a rehabilitation plan for the damaged area; KKL-JNF will evaluate the possibilities of suitable assistance. Nahal Lavan Reservoir, which was established with the support of JNF already experienced a pervious fierce flood which broke through, but since then the reservoir was strengthened and repaired. The reservoir was planned to harvest a surface flow of of water per second, but the current floodwaters flowed at a speed of per second!

The in the Arava - All the roads were eroded by the floods and they will have to be repaired. The was established with the support of KKL-JNF Friends in the and .

Also along the eastern (Jordanian) side of the in the farm lands of Idan, Hatzeva and Yahav, considerable damage was caused to all the agricultural infrastructure, hothouses and open farm lands. Major damage was also caused to the roads leading to the communities of Nizzana and Kadesh Barnea. The collapse of the bridge in the area blacked access to the settlements and swept away the roads to the settlements of Beer Milka, Nizzana, Azuz and Kehmin. KKL-JNF teams brought in graders as first aid to level roads to the settlements.

Floodwater harvesting

Desert climate is characterized by a short, extremely irregular rainy season. Typically rain falls in winter, flowing mainly on the surface, gathering in the wadis (dry riverbeds) and creating flash floods, sometimes of extreme intensity. Most of this water is wasted, either evaporating or flowing to the sea. A small part seeps into the ground playing an important role in replenishing over-pumped aquifers. For more than a decade methods have been developed to harvest these floodwaters by collecting them in reservoirs. The water thus accumulated serves as fresh water source for crop irrigation in some of the most arid areas of the and plays a major role in the success of agricultural ventures in the area. KKL is a leading force in these advanced water-harvesting technologies and is actively involved in the construction of dams and reservoirs to capture and store as much water as possible.



For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail [email protected]



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