Monday, July 06, 2020 12:00 PM
The new water reservoir will collect and store runoff water, ensuring maximum utilization of rainfall and providing an affordable and sustainable water source to farmers throughout the year, especially in the summer and during periods of drought.
Bar'on Water Reservoir. Photo: Yisrael Peretz, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Israel’s northern-most region has seen an increase in agricultural fields and orchards in recent years, together with natural growth and expansion of existing communities. The second largest employment sector in the Golan Heights is agriculture –there are approximately 700 agricultural enterprises across the region (1,200 square kilometers), which constitute a major, even sole livelihood for many residents. With the increase in population and agricultural industry comes an increased need for water for irrigation and maintenance. At the same time, however, the rainy seasons in Israel are decreasing, with less rainfall recorded each year.
As part of KKL-JNF’s objective to support farmers and agriculture in northern Israel, KKL-JNF established the Bar'on Reservoir in cooperation with the "Mey Golan" Water Association. The new water reservoir will collect and store runoff water, ensuring maximum utilization of rainfall and providing a readily available and accessible source of water to farmers, especially in the summer and during particularly severe periods of drought.
The Bar'on Reservoir is located about 1.5 kilometers northeast of Kibbutz Merom Golan in the northern Golan Heights, about 4 kilometers from the border with Syria. The Bar'on Reservoir was established next to the Bental Reservoir, another KKL-JNF reservoir built in recent years to meet the growing needs of local farmers. The new reservoir has a capacity of 1.9 million cubic meters, and stores water runoff from the Golan's eastern basin — in the Quneitra Valley and the eastern slopes of the nearby Mount Avital. The harvested water will be used to irrigate the fields and orchards in the Tel- el Mehafi area (Booster Ridge), Kibbutz Merom Golan and Kibbutz Elrom, and will significantly improve the farmers' ability to expand their agricultural output.
To get a sense of scale: The reservoir’s water surface area covers almost 60 acres, with a bottom surface of 42 acres. The water reaches a depth of 10 meters, and the sloping levees extend between 2-12 meters. So how does KKL-JNF build a reservoir? It’s a complex job that includes earthworks, stripping, clamping, clay excavation, filling basalt bedding, plumbing and drainage, stone grinding, reservoir sealing (with built-in levees and laying a 50 acre area with with H.D.P.E sheets), and placing fencing around the reservoir.
The Bar’on reservoir joins the 230 other water reservoirs that KKL-JNF has built over the years. The reservoirs provide about 80 percent of the water used for agriculture in these areas.