MemberJanuary 31, 2021 at 6:21 am
Kadesh is the premier watersource in the south. The spring at Ayn Qudayrat even now flows at an amazing 40 cu. m. per hour. Nothing in the Sinai or Negev comes close. Most of the water-points have become degraded (drier). Kadesh also, as its water supply depends on the water that falls on the Central Negev Highlands. With increasing desertification, the soil becomes water-repellant, rain runs off the surface (mostly to the Dead Sea to the east) rather than feeding the karstic system, and less water arrives at the springs.
Here is Rainey and Notley’s section on the question of the location of Kadesh… my notes have some abbreviations.
Rainey, Anson F., and R. Steven Notley, eds. The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World. Jerusalem: Carta, 2006.
 The ID of Kadesh is based on the convergence of 3 lines of evidence… its place in the S border description, ascribed to Canaan (Num 34:4) or Judah (Josh 15:3), or the idealised eschatological land (Ezek 47:19; 48:28). It is obvious that K-B must be located roughly halfway between the lower extremity of the Dead Sea on the E and the estuary of the Brook of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish). It is not surprising, therefore, that at just about the right position required by the texts… a spring was found called Ain Qadeis [ref] During the early 19th C scholars looked for K-B somewhere in the Arabah because of Num 20:16, which places the site on the border of Edom. Later the search shifted W because of the bib refs to the S border of Canaan/Judah. In 1905 Schmidt (1910) recognised that a more appropriate archae site was at neighbouring Wadi el-Ain with its water-source at Ain el-Qudeirat. Woolley and Lawrence made an archae survey of the region soon after, and confirmed Schmidt’s conclusion. The IA fort stands near the junction of a road leading from Suez to Beer-sheba/Hebron, the “way of Shur” (Gen 6:7) and the road branching from the coastal highway… near el-Arish, which leads to Aqabah. This area is now the largest oasis in the Northern Sinai and produces about 40 cubic metres of water per hour.