As we prepared to leave the Tiberias area, driving away from the Sea of Galilee, I pointed out to our tour guide a large pipe running above ground along the side of the road. Sections of the pipe seemed under construction, and others seemed fully functional. I ask what the pipe was for.
Our tour guide explained that Israel has a fairly good relationship with Jordan. Israel has signed a treaty with Jordan to provide water for them for irrigation. There are salty springs to the north of the Sea of Galilee. Israel doesn’t want this water running into the Sea of Galilee, and they’ve discovered that if they dilute this water, it can still be used to irrigate plants native to the Negev region – the dessert to the south. Jordan desperately needs this water. So, Israel mixes the water from these springs with recycled water from the sewer system in cities like Tiberias, and pumps 150 million cubic feet of water (per some time period that he didn’t specify; I imagine “per year”) to Jordan for irrigation.
At another point, earlier in the week, we saw a large hill inside which was the pump station for this waterway. Here’s a picture, though all you’re seeing is the electrical station on the outside of the hill. Still, I think this whole thing is fascinating.
What I didn’t think to ask – either time – is what Israel gets in return for this clearly vital service.