Located on the edge of a desert belt, Israel has always suffered a scarcity of water. Archeological discoveries in the Negev and other parts of the country reveal that local inhabitants thousands of years ago were already concerned with water conservation, as evidenced by a variety of systems, designed to both collect and store rainwater and transfer it from one place to another.
The total annual renewable water resources amount to some 60 billion cubic feet (1.7 billion cu.m.), of which about 75 percent is used for irrigation and the balance for urban and industrial purposes. The country's water sources consist of the Jordan River, Lake Kinneret and a few small river systems. Natural springs and underground water tables, tapped in controlled quantities to prevent depletion and salination, are also utilized. As maximum use has been made of all freshwater sources, ways are being developed to exploit marginal water resources through the recycling of waste water, cloud-seeding and desalination of brackish water.
The National Water Carrier
To overcome regional imbalances in water availability, most of Israel's freshwater sources are joined in an integrated grid. Its central artery, the National Water Carrier, completed in 1964, brings water from the north and central regions, through a network of giant pipes, aqueducts, open canals, reservoirs, tunnels, dams and pumping stations, to the semi-arid south.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry. Map from AIPAC.