TEL AVIV (Dec. 21)
Work on the controversial Jordan River water project is proceeding according to schedule and it is hoped to complete the entire project within four years, Y. Duvdevani, director of the Mekorot Water Company, said today in a press interview.
The project, designed to pipe water from the Jordan River at a point in northern Israel, to be used in irrigating arid stretches of the southern desert, has come under heavy attack in recent weeks from the Arab States. Israel began the project after the Arab States had rejected the Johnston Plan which would have provided for allocation of the Jordan water among Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel and for extensive development of the river’s flow.
Work on the 108-inch pipeline was recently suspended because of the winter, Mr. Duvdevani said, but will be resumed as early in the spring as possible. Meanwhile, he said, work was continuing on essential sub-projects, such as the Taghba hydroelectric plant and the open conduit in the Upper Galilee through which the Jordan water would move southward by gravity.
The work on the difficult Menashe Tunnel is continuing at a steady pace, he noted. Here a tunnel has to be driven through the base of a mountain for the water pipeline. The tunnelling from the north has already penetrated 2.7 kilometers, he said, and the digging from the south, 1.7 kilometers.