The Glorious Nature Reserve That Rainfall Forced Israel To Create
Nahal Taninim includes a glistening lake, a flowing river, flora, fauna, quarries, a Roman aqueduct, and an entire ancient dam. But no crocodiles.
If it hadn’t been for several torrential downpours in 1992 and a couple of heavy storms in 1995, Israel’s Nahal Taninim Nature Reserve as we know it today simply wouldn’t exist.
But fortunately for us nature lovers, water pouring into the sea near Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael and Zichron Ya’akov flooded the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway each time, and the powers that be decided that they had to take action.
The problem stemmed from a dam that the Romans built two millennia ago to transport water from Nahal Taninim to the coastal city of Caesarea. In any kind of serious downpour the 1,500-acre lake formed by the dam would fill up to the brim. And since openings that the Romans carved into the dam walls were blocked up with debris, the overflow would end up on the road.
For five years the relevant bodies put their heads together, trying to decide what to do. Finally in 2000, with the help of the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Antiquities Authorities and the Drainage Authority, workers began clearing out the dam and cleaning up its walls.