January rains avert drought year declaration

rain photo: Eyal Izhar

Water minister Yuval Steinitz: There is still a drastic shortage in our natural aquifers.

The intention of declaring the winter of 2017-2018 as a drought year has been suspended for the time being, Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz said yesterday. "The large quantity of rain that has fallen in the past few days brings us to 90% of the annual average for the season, and enables us to avoid declaring a drought year, at least for the time being. At the same time, even if the current drought is behind us, and that is still not certain, there is still a drastic shortage in our natural aquifers, and this summer the Kinneret is still expected to drop below the black line, for the first time ever.

"We must continue with the plan for upgrading the national water system, including construction of new desalination plants, in order to cope with climate changes, to supply water to a growing population and for agriculture throughout Israel, to save the Kinneret and streams around Israel, and to encourage savings in water consumption," Steinintz added.

The Israel Water Authority said yesterday evening that "the fear of a drought this year is certainly still present."

The Water Authority said that the recent rains had raised the level of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) by nine centimeters, and that it was at 214.01 meters yesterday morning. Since the rainstorm began on Thursday, the level of the lake has risen by 15 centimeters. It is still a long way below the lower red line, and only 86 centimeters above the black line, which is the hundred-year low. The surface of the lake is 5.21 meters below its maximum level.

"In the past twenty-four hours things have turned round, and the rain in that period has fallen in the right places and has benefited the water economy. Nevertheless, despite the quantities and the flooding, the shortfall is still enormous, because of a succession of four dry years and a dry year this year, until early January," the Water Authority said.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 28, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

rain photo: Eyal Izhar
rain photo: Eyal Izhar
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