|M.Sc Student||Sarti Tslach-Tzvi|
|Subject||Development of Settlements in Dead Sea Valley on the Basis|
Of Trapped Flood Waters
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Dr. Rachel Wilkansky|
|Professor Emeritus Mordechai Diskin (Deceased)|
The Dead Sea and Arava is a strip of land 240 km long, characterized by an arid climate and suffering from a severe shortage of water that limits its possibilities for continued development. It is sparsely populated but presents great potential for development of national importance. This territory is not the object of debate in terms of sovereignty, but likely physical and political changes in the region make it imperative to carefully guide its development within a national framework. Because of the large scale of the area under study, it was decided to focus on one part of it, the Central Arava.
The consumption of fresh water in the Central Arava has reached its maximum value; new development will require the exploitation of additional water resources. Future development will have to rely on the use of water from the main rivers of the Central Arava which we propose to dam. The water will be retained in reservoirs and added to an integrated water system for the Arava as a whole. The reservoirs will be used to store water, to regulate the volumes drawn from different sources, and to facilitate the mixing of waters of different qualities: fresh water and salty water from aquifers, artesic water with high temperatures, water containing large quantities of sediments and flood water.
The additional volume of flood water that the reservoirs can contribute to the Central Arava water system is estimated at 7.26 million cubic meters per year. To this quantity of fresh water can be added an equal amount of salty water from aquifers which TAHAL company is planning to develop. This water contains about 900 milligram of chlorine per liter mixing it with flood water will reduce its solinity and make it suitable for all types of uses. The total volume of water available in reservoirs in 1995 is estimated by TAHAL company to be about 13 million cubic meters per year. This means a doubling of the water resources of the Central Arava and opens the door for new development
The additional water will make possible all forms of development, urban, industrial, agricultural, tourist, and others. In this work we choose to focus on agricultural development. We show that the new water resources make it possible to use intensive agriculture in greenhouses and thereby provide an economic basis for a greater settlement of the region. We estimate that an independent agricultural unit can exist with ten dunams of land and 6000 cubic meters of waters a year. With the use of crops requiring less water, as in the model farms the net income of a proposed agricultural unit will be at least $70,000 per year, which is very high compared to average incomes in Israel This enables production of specific crops for which there is much demand can be of high quality, and can be directed at foreign markets, thereby contributing to the national objective of an export-led economy.
By adding to the water resources of the region and by establishing a fair and efficient use of these resources, the proposed system of reservoirs and agricultural units will at the same time provide a model for regional development, increase the number of families living in the Arava, and boost the Israeli export.