The story of the Zamzam Well began, when Allah ordered His prophet Ibrahim, PBUH, to leave His wife, Hajar, and her son, Ismail, in a barren valley, i.e., Mecca. When the food and the drinks of Ismail ran out, His mother, Hajar, set forth to look for water for her son between the As-Safa and the Al-Marwah mountains. Then Gabriel, peace be upon Him, hit the ground where the baby was until a water spring emerged. So, she rose, took some of it, gave her child to drink. Since then, the tribes came to the spring from all over Mecca. Its importance heightened after Ibrahim and His son, Ismail, peace be upon Them, had built the Sacred House. With the passage of the years and during a certain period of time, the Zamzam Well was backfilled. This was prior to the time of Abd al-Muttalib, the Grandfather of Muhammad, Peace be upon Him. Abd al-Muttalib re-excavated it and gave the pilgrims water from it to drink. Thus, the serving of water and food for pilgrims was kept by the family of Abd al-Muttalib, which was then transferred to his son Abbas Ibn Abd al-Muttalib.
Some references indicate that the blessed Zamzam Well is about 20 meters far from the Holy Ka'bah in the east, and it is fed from three main directions: the first from the northwest, the second from the east, and the third from the south (Kushok, 1983). The blessed Zamzam Well still provides the pilgrims with water since the time, when Allah’s prophet, Ibrahim, called onto the people to the pilgrim. Water is pumped with different rates according to the methods of extracting. The secured range of pumping from the Well reaches half a million cubic meter annually, based on the hydraulic characteristics of the geologic structure of the underground tank that feeds the blessed Zamzam Well. There are technical and seasonal conditions to be met in order to achieve the sustainability of the sources that supply water to the Well in terms of its capacity and the number of hours of pumping.
The geographic location of the blessed Zamzam Well is a miracle. It exists in a holy area next to the Grand Mosque and is considered the lowest point in the area of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, within the basin of Wadi Ibrahim, which Allah described as barren. It is subjected to the prevailing conditions of the geological and hydrogeological system in the region. The quantity and quality of the water flowing to it are affected by the volumes of rainfall and the percentages of recharging the underground reservoir of Wadi Ibrahim over time as per records of performance of the Well in the historical documentation of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in the heritage books.
The Zamzam building was removed in 1377 AH, when the projects of the Mataf (an area where people go around the ka’aba) expansion were carried out, and the entrance to the Well was made under the Mataf circle in order to facilitate the Tawaf (going around the ka’aba) for the pilgrims until the entrance was completely removed from the Mataf circle during the latest expansion of the Grand Mosque. The most extensive cleaning of the Well was carried out in 1400 AH through the order of the late king, Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may Allah have mercy upon his soul. In 2010, the project of Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may Allah have mercy upon his soul, was undertaken to fill and purify the Zamzam water automatically, which provides the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque with water, as well as the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, who are seeking the blessed Zamzam water.
With the increase in the capacity of air transport, the number of pilgrims to Mecca increased constantly during the last three decades from about 400,000 annually in mid-seventies of the last century to several millions at present. This number is in constant increase, praise be to Allah. This pressures the natural resources feeding the Well, and requires creative ideas and untraditional methods to sustainably balance the supply and the demand. The Center aims, through various technical studies conducted and supervised, to improve the hydraulic characteristics of the basin of Ibrahim's valley, as well as the surrounding area of the Well by raising storage capacities and flow speeds in the section of the valley next to the Well. This results in increasing the total productivity in conformity with the increase in demand for the blessed Zamzam water and in compliance with the vision of the Kingdom 2030.