Ramat Sirin - Performance and History

The other night we performed for a wonderful company for their annual corporate party in a very unique place.  The company – the Jordan Valley Water Association, and the place – Ramat Sirin. Ramat Sirin is located in the mountains above Menahamia, south of the Kineret.

But first a little bit of history:


The Jordan Valley Water Association was established in 1978 and supplies water to the agricultural areas spanning the Jordan Valley. In addition, the Association supplies drinking water to the entire southern area of the Jordan Valley and the northern area of the Ma’ayanot Valley and maintains drainage and sewage systems.


The first aqueduct was established in 1932 at the initiative of Degania Bet and Beit Zera, engineered by the water engineer Simcha Balas, who lived at the time In Degania Bet. The water was brought up from the Jordan by pumps that received electricity from the power plant in Naharayim, and from there it flowed by the force of gravity alone to the agricultural fields. Irrigating these kibbutz lands also allowed land to be diverted for the establishment of Kibbutz Afikim.


The second section in the Jordan Valley began operating in 1938 in Ashdot Ya'akov. It was built by members of the kibbutz over several months and stretched east of the kibbutz in a south-north direction. The water was brought up from a pumping station on the bank of the Yarmouch River, and from there it flowed to the kibbutz fields in the southeast of the Jordan Valley.


Cement Aquaduct

The reservoir pumps and piping to the pumps

In the early 1940s, the Zionist institutions succeeded in acquiring all the lands of the village of Tzemach (Samach). A special committee divided these lands among the kibbutzim, with each kibbutz receiving a piece of land in the eastern area of the Jordan Valley. So they joined five kibbutzim: Degania Aleph, Degania Bet, Kinneret, Beit Zera, and Afikim and initiated the construction of another aqueduct to irrigate their fields. This was also designed by Simcha Balas and was inaugurated in 1943.


The pumping plant was named "The Institute of the Five Kibbutzim," and Simcha Balas was once again chosen to design the project. Between the years 1942-1943 the factory was built. These were the years of World War II and the shortage of building materials and workers was felt. Groups of construction workers from the kibbutz worked on the establishment of the factory. The photographer Eliyahu Cohen from Ashdot Ya'akov captured the stages of construction with his camera:


The aqueducts and the many concrete canals that branched off from them, changed the landscape of the area from desolate and dry to blooming and green. This was both a visual contribution to making the land green and blooming, and a social and educational contribution to the story of the Zionist heritage in the field.

The water institute near the cliff of the Yarmouch river

The pump motors

Today the original three aqueducts are no longer active. From the first arm,  a short section remains near Degania Bet, which was reinforced with the help of the Jordan Valley Water Association. Also, only a small section remains from the Ashdot-Yaakov's section, which was also renovated by the Jordan Valley Water Association. The Association used the route of the aqueducts to lay water lines for the 'reclamation plant' (reclaiming wastewater for agriculture).


In the 1970s, after the issue of water was regulated by law, and the allocation of water quotas to consumers began, water became a limited commodity. This led to the drying up of ineffective fishponds and a transition to economical and efficient irrigation.


At the end of the 1970s, the Water Association initiated and carried out the largest private water project in the State of Israel at that time, which was bringing irrigation water for agriculture to the Sirin Plateau. This project raises water to heights of about 600 meters in several stations and ponds, thus making it possible to water about 15 thousand dunams of land, which was irrigated until then only by rainwater.


It was quite stressful reaching the “venue” as it required us to drive for about 10 km on what can only be described as a road without a road, so it felt much longer! But then we arrived at this amazing place – the photos speak for themselves.

Setting up - in the wind... perfect for curly-haired girls

The guests have started to arrive - we've started singing.

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