The development of water infrastructures in Israel: Past, present and future

Naama Teschner, Maya Negev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Water infrastructure started to change dramatically in the first half of the 20th century, developed in parallel by the British Mandate and the new Zionist settlers, who came predominantly from Europe and included engineers who had a vision of cultivating the land. In his futurist book Altneuland, Theodor Herzl, “the visionary of the State of the Jews”, described fields of wheat and barley, corn, poppy seeds and tobacco, which are high water consuming crops. The first person to envision a national water plan in 1920 was Pinchas Rotenberg, one of the leaders of the Yishuv, the Jewish Zionist settlement in the land that preceded the State of Israel. Nevertheless, the expert delegation of the US Federal Bureau of Reclamation that visited Israel in the mid 1920‘s, invited by Zionist leader Haim Weitzman, still concentrated only on the Coastal Aquifer (ignoring the Sea of Galilee and the mountain aquifer). It was not before the late 1930‘s that Dr. Walter Lowdermilk outlined the plan that is considered today the initial vision for developing the national water system (Schwarz, 1990). By then the senior water managers at the time agreed that the strategy should be to transfer water from where it is plentiful to where it is not, to supply water during the dry season, to convey water under pressure in pipes in order to overcome topographical barriers and reduce leakage, and finally to take an integrative approach and supply water throughout the country, particularly to the arid Negev desert (Sitton, 2002).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShared Borders, Shared Waters
Subtitle of host publicationIsraeli-Palestinian and Colorado River Basin Water Challenges
EditorsSB Megdal , RG Varady , S. Eden
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780203597682
ISBN (Print)9780415662635
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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