One of the wettest Decembers in the past 30 years has boosted Israel's water reserves just as a crisis looms because the Israeli government's desalination building program is behind schedule. Israel's Meteorological Service reported that monthly rainfall in December along the coast and inland plain between Hadera and Yavne was 300-350 millimeters - nearly triple the monthly average for December. The Rehovot and Kfar Saba regions were the wettest in Israel last month with over 400 millimeters of rain.
The Jerusalem hills and southern coastline between Ashdod and Ashkelon saw 150-200 millimeters of rain in December, nearly double the monthly average. The Upper Galilee and Golan had 200-280 millimeters last month (up to 180% of the monthly average) of the monthly average, while the Lower Galilee had 150-200 millimeters (up to 150% of the monthly average) and around the Kinneret had the monthly average of 160 millimeters of rain. The Kinneret rose several centimeters last month and with heavy snowfall on Mount Hermon, plenty of water can be expected to flow into the lake come the spring. Rainfall in the south, which has been above average in recent years, was poor last month with only 50% of the monthly average in much of the Negev.
More rain is expected tonight and tomorrow in the north and the center of the country with heavy rains returning in Sunday.
This winter's heavy rainfall is especially welcome as Israel is falling behind in its water desalination building program. The country sixth plant at Sorek should have been operating by 2020 but with the tender only issued in October, it is unlikely to be completed before 2025. The plant will produce 200 million cubic meters of water a year, bringing Israel's aggregate desalinated water production capacity to 785 million cubic meters a year, equal to 85% of Israel's annual home and municipal consumption.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 2, 2019
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