In the 1980’s, engineers building the desert settlement of Sapir were surprised to find water seeping through new foundations. Geological analysis in the area showed a layer of clay capping a permeable layer of fractured dolomite stone. It was decided to drain and collect the water away from the settlement by creating a small lake. By removing alluvial debris and the clay layer, water was allowed to percolate into a pool of about 3,000 square meters. The sides of the basin were lined with concrete topped with river-washed local stone; the bottom was left unlined to allow the upwelling of water. The area of the lake was determined by the amount of groundwater seeping through the permeable strata minus the rate of evaporation throughout the year. The water level remains constant through the balance of these quantities.
Sapir lake has been developed into a desert oasis for recreation. It has a boardwalk at one end from which people fish. There is a re-circulating rivulet which adds a pleasant background sound, and grassy banks where people can picnic and play.
Arava, Negev desert
Jewish National Fund
Shlomo Aronson, Stanley Fields, Shoshi Keinan, Hadass Benmeir
Parks, Promenades and Plazas