(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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org