Water for Life
Atlanta Family Dedicates JNF Reservoir in Israel in Memory of Loved One
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January 30, 2006 -- Atlanta, GA -- When Gladys and Jack Hirsch donated the lead gift of $100,000 to Jewish National Fund of America to help build the Adamit Aramsha Reservoir in Israel’s Western Upper Galilee in 2002, little did Gladys realize just how much it would mean to her and in just how many ways.
Sadly, Jack passed away and the reservoir, up and running, was recently dedicated in his memory. But at the ceremony in December, Gladys, an Atlanta resident who was joined by four generations of the Hirsch family who live in Israel, also gave voice to the realization of seeing up close what a reservoir in arid land really means.
“I was really overwhelmed by the water reservoir and how much the water is helping the people in the vicinity,” said Gladys. “Without the reservoirs, people couldn’t live there nor could they make a living. By giving money to JNF’s water reservoirs, we become a part of Israel and help ensure its survival. Seeing Jack’s name attached to this reservoir makes me feel even closer.”
Located next to the Lebanese border on the northernmost portion of Israel, the reservoir was an $800,000 project adopted by JNF in the southeastern U.S., specifically the Atlanta community.
Israel simply requires more water for consumption than its resources yield. At current consumption rates, Israel runs an annual deficit of almost 53 billion gallons, and in ten years, all fresh water supplies will be required for household needs, thus leaving Jewish National Fund, as well as government agencies, to provide the rest.
Thanks to the Atlanta community and the Hirsch family in particular, the Adamit-Aramsha Recycled Water Reservoir on the Adamit Plateau, northwest of Kibbutz Adamit, is about 1/3 of a mile from the Lebanese border, and has a capacity of 31,680,000 gallons. The water is used to irrigate the orchards in its vicinity—apples, pears, peaches, nectarines and plums—which were previously irrigated with freshwater. By doing so, the Adamit-Aramsha Reservoir saves enough freshwater to meet the annual domestic needs of 1,200 Israelis.
The area that surrounds the reservoir is steep and mountainous, and extensive areas are covered by natural woodland and cultivated land. The reservoir site was chosen for its proximity to the surrounding communities and the cultivated areas it irrigates.
The two communities involved in the project, Adamit and Aramsha, lacked a suitable solution for their effluents up to now. A central sewage system is only now being built in Aramsha, and waste from Adamit received only preliminary treatment and then flowed down the steep cliffs into Nahal Bezet, one of the most beautiful of Israel’s nature reserves. This intolerable situation, combined with the severe water scarcity for irrigation, was the basis for the establishment of the new reservoir, which provides a solution for both problems by treating effluents and preventing pollution, while providing an efficient, inexpensive source of water for irrigation.
In order to plan for the future needs of community residents, the new reservoir was built in an area that allows for maximal size, beyond what would be necessary for the amount of wastewater created by the two communities it now serves. Annual amounts of wastewater are expected to reach 39,600,000 gallons by 2010 and 50,160,000 gallons by 2020. In the future, the reservoir will also be able to receive effluents from additional sources in the region.
A sewage treatment installation is to be built next to the reservoir, and treated wastewater will be conveyed to the reservoir and stored until it is piped out for irrigation. A pumping station with a capacity of 660,000 gallons a day (the maximum expected use) will convey the water to the orchards. The reservoir will eventually provide between one-half and one-third of the required irrigation water in the region.
About Kibbutz Adamit
Kibbutz Adamit was first founded in 1958 by French and Israeli members of the Shomer Hatsa’ir youth movement. The kibbutz underwent many changes and now has about 110 inhabitants. It regularly absorbs new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, combining a kibbutz Ulpan with initial preparations for living and working in the city.
It is now in the stages of becoming a large rural community with a population expected to reach 1,000 during the decade. Adamit has 1,400 acres of deciduous orchards (apples, pears, peaches and plums) and 2,000 acres of avocado groves near the town of Shlomi, and jointly cultivates 3,280 acres north of Akko with two other kibbutzim—Shameret and Lohame HaGeta’ot—which are irrigated entirely with recycled wastewater. The kibbutz poultry farm produces 1,200 tons of meat yearly. Adamit also operates a metal chip processing plant and a small tourist room-rental service.
Aramsha is a Bedouin village on the Lebanese border about 11/4 miles northeast of Adamit, and is populated by members of the Al-Aramsha tribe. The village was founded in the 1960s, joining three nomadic groups into a municipal framework, and has close to 1,250 inhabitants. Most of the members work outside the village in neighboring communities and many raise livestock—goats, sheep and cows. Although the village owns 5,000 acres of farming land, there is very little irrigated agriculture in Aramsha due to water scarcity. The village has its own primary school, and the children continue their studies at schools near Nahariyya. Many young men from Aramsha serve in the Israel Defense Forces, mostly as trackers. The economic situation in the village is difficult: only one-fourth of the inhabitants have a profession and very few have had the opportunity to achieve higher education. A joint committee with representatives from several government offices has been formed to assist Aramsha in its economic and social development.
Surveying the area and noting the positive impact the reservoir has on the region’s residents, Gladys said: “Without JNF, we wouldn't have all of the communities, roads, water, and trees, and Israel wouldn't be Israel. If people could see Israel and what JNF does, they would just be amazed.”
"We are very proud of this project," said Michael Miller, JNF Southern Zone president. "Most people understand intellectually that water is life, but when you actually help bring water to a region and as a result help its people live life, you understand it on a whole other level. That's what we've done here and that's what we're going to continue to do through our work with JNF on behalf of the land of Israel."
Captions: Both pictures were taken at the Adamit Aramsha Reservoir dedication ceremony in December. The Hirsch family, in full attendance, included some young grandchildren.
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.