Fifth Water Supply System for Jerusalem

Project Info


Judean Hills, Israel


In order to supply the water demands of a growing population, Jerusalem is constructing one of its biggest national infrastructure projects ever — a NIS 2.5-billion-dollar water system that will deliver a reliable water supply to consumers. The mega project will connect a number of seawater desalination plants along the coast to the elevated heights of Jerusalem.

While most of the Fifth Water Line is being constructed using cut and cover methods, a 13km stretch is being tunneled under the Judean Hills. The 3.9 m diameter tunnel is being constructed using a rock Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). When completed, desalinated seawater will be pumped through the steel-lined tunnel at very high pressures.

Golder has been involved on the tunnel project as owner’s engineer throughout the project. During the feasibility stage, Golder was initially retained by Mekorot, Israel’s National Water Company, to provide third-party peer review of the available geotechnical data and the tunnel option.

Golder was later retained to complete the geotechnical investigation, preliminary design, and provide assistance to Mekorot during the tendering stage of the project. During this period, Golder defined and coordinated geological mapping, borehole investigations, in situ testing and geophysical surveys. Golder also prepared the Reference Design, Geotechnical Data and Geotechnical Baseline Reports, led the risk assessment for the tunnel, and assisted with the preparation of tender documents for the procurement of the design-build project.

During construction, Golder, in association with local Israeli firm Ecolog, provided the following support to the owner, including:

  • reviewing contractor designs
  • training site geological staff
  • providing geologic mapping of ground conditions
  • reviewing tunnel support designs
  • evaluating karst cavern and fault zone mitigation plans
  • assisting with construction claim resolution
  • supporting risk assessment workshops

When complete, the pipeline will supply up to 500,000 cubic meters of water a day at peak operating capacity (approximately 150 million cubic meters a year) from Israel’s National Water System and Carrier will be able to satisfy Jerusalem’s water needs until around 2065.

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