Now limited to an average of four gallons of water a day, the 150,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem will soon have a plentiful supply when the huge pumping-relay system shortly begins operating.
A unique engineering problem had to be overcome before Jerusalem’s growing population could be provided with a water supply commensurate with its needs. It was necessary to pump the water sixty kilometers from its source, up 800 feet to the city perched on the hills.
At present Jerusalem depends for its water on the Bible-famed Solomon’s pools, five pools lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and on the ingenuity of the residents in catching rain-water. The shortage has been so acute in recent months that water is meted out in 24-gallon quantities every six days.
Modern engineering has made it possible to tap the great Ras-el-Ain supplies, which lie at sea-level near Tel Aviv. Five pumping stations, each having three pumps, have been installed. These will pump the water up the slopes of the hills.
The first trickle of water has already been pumped up the hills, but not in a steady supply. The new pipe-line is not yet complete and the old pipes will not stand the pressure.
The construction work on the new pipe-lines is nearing completion. A 10,000,000-gallon reservoir is being built at Romema since present reservoirs can only hold a week’s water supply. The Rasel-Ain supply is sufficient for a 200,000 population, but there are complaints that the water is hard and tastes unpleasant. The present supply, while small, seems to suit the taste of the population better.