“negev Authority” Established in Israel; to Survey Plans for Development of Desert

A “Negev Authority” to chart the development of Israel’s southern desert was appointed today by Premier David Ben Gurion. Appointment of members of the commission to supervise the new project was also made public. These are: Yitzhak Chizik and Haim Halperin, of the Agriculture Ministry; Pinchas Kozlovsky, of the Defense Ministry; Avraham Bergman, of the Finance Ministry; and Haim Blass, of the Water Resources Department.

The commission members will be charged with the task of initiating a thorough investigation of the Negev’s natural resources — including soil and water potential — and will be expected to submit plans for the development of communications systems, agriculture and fisheries on the Aqaba coast.

Large-scale exploitation of water resources and irrigation schemes, prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, were outlined today before the Israel Agriculture Council. The plans include damming of the Galilee Valley for the formation of a reservoir lake and creation of an artificial reservoir lake in the Negev.

Under the proposals, the 250,000 acres now under irrigation in Israel would be substantially increased. The scheme also provides for numerous subterranean probings in the Negev for water and damming of 28 ravines which are covered by water only during specific periods of the year. It was revealed that the Government is preparing legislation for the strict control of the nation’s water resources.

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