Hydrology, Drilling and Engineering
Most of Israel’s geography consists of semi-arid and arid zones where natural recharge fluctuates significantly from year to year. This irregular pattern is compounded by the fact that aquifers represent a major source of water in Israel and, therefore, their storage capacity is critically important.
Careful management of aquifers is required in order to preserve scarce water sources over extended periods of time and to protect water quality.
Mekorot has won international recognition for its ability to extract groundwater from Israel’s highly complex hydrogeology structures that result from the country’s position on the Western side of the Syria-African Rift Valley Transform Fault (where the Sea of Galilee, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea and Arava Valley are located).
This geological complexity dictates the location and spread of aquifers, their outlets, direction of flow and other hydraulic factors.
Mekorot has substantial experience in extracting water from a variety of groundwater sources, including sand, sandstone, limestone, dolomite, basalts, and alluvium layers. Some of Mekorot’s wells reach up to 1,500 meters in depth, and in places where water levels are very deep, Mekorot places pumps at depths of up to 450 meters.
The company designs the drill structures, operates and rehabilitates more than 1,040 active wells.
- Mekorot’s hydrology department is well-known and its capabilities include the design and execution of the following studies:
geological and hydrological studies, including water balance, pumping tests, flow and transport modeling.
- salinization studies, including the use of geochemical, isotopes and other geochemical tools.
- artificial recharge studies, including geological, hydrological and chemical surveys and studying the impact of recharging effluents and surface water into sand and karstic aquifers.
- hydrogeological studies and development of paleo-water sources (aquifers) in arid zones.
- environmental research.
- hydrological monitoring and recommendations of the quantities of water that can be pumped in each aquifer and in different well fields in relation to the climatic conditions (drought years), the water level and other aquifer conditions.
- location and supervision of drilling for new wells.
- advising the government on water issues from a hydrological perspective, including water issues between Israel and its neighbors.
- developing water sources in arid zones.
- lectures and courses for employees of Mekorot as well as other Israeli and foreign companies.
Mekorot also initiates research on subjects related to its current activities with the aim of better understanding the hydrological, technical and geochemical aspects of these subjects.
It also participates in international studies with groups from various countries. One current focus of research is a multilateral project related to sustainable and integrated management of available water resources with innovative technologies (“SMART”) in conjunction with partners from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and several German universities.