Mekorot (Heb. "Sources") Water Company

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MEKOROT (Heb. "Sources") WATER COMPANY , company established in 1937 as a joint undertaking of the *Histadrut, the *Jewish Agency, and the *Jewish National Fund, to develop a water supply project in the western part of the Valley of Jezreel. Its first managing director was Levi *Eshkol. After World War ii, Mekorot extended its operations to a regional project in the Negev and a smaller project in central Israel. During the *War of Independence (1948) it constructed an emergency water supply system for Jerusalem and, after the war, embarked upon a major development program encompassing the entire country. In 1962 Mekorot officially became Israel's National Water Supply Agency.

In the early 1950s the projects executed were mainly connected with ground and spring water. In the mid-1950s further major regional projects were carried out. In the later 1950s and early 1960s the main emphasis was upon the National Water Carrier (Jordan Project), and subsequently systems utilizing flood runoff and reclaimed sewage were constructed. From the early 1960s the company also operated abroad, mainly in the construction of water supplies in developing countries. In 1967 it opened the Shapdan, the sewage system for all Gush Dan (Tel Aviv area). In 1989 it opened a third water line to the Negev, which transported filtered water from the Shapdan. In 1995 it opened a fourth water line to Jerusalem, and in 1997 it opened the desalination plant in Elath supplying 80% of the city's water. Subsequently it opened other desalination plants in various locations.

The Israel government was a shareholder in the company from 1948 and held one-third of the shares in 1967. Another third was held by the Histadrut, and the rest equally by the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund. The company operates as a government firm, meaning that it operates as an independent business enterprise under the supervision of the Governmental Companies Authority. In 2000 the company's budget was nis 5.6 billion. It supplies 90% of the country's drinking water and 70% of all water (1.3 billion cu. m.). The company operates over 800 pumping stations, with over 2,400 pumps, over 1,200 wells, and 10,500 kms. of large-diameter pipes. It employs 2,100 workers all over Israel. Company salaries are known to be among the highest in the public sector.

Mekorot owns shm – Electrical Mechanic Services, operating water infrastructure projects. It also advances various projects with private firms. The government had declared its intention to privatize Mekorot but met with opposition from both the workers and others.


Mekorot Water Company Ltd. and its Role in Israel's Development (1963); Sheloshim Shanah li-Mekorot (1967). website:

[Aaron Wiener /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]