The Hydrological Service of the Israel Water Authority fears that the current rainy season may be another dry one in the north of Israel, for the third successive year. According to Hydrological Service figures, the surface of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) was measured at 212.83 meters below sea level today, and the lake is no less than 4.03 meters below full capacity.
Since the beginning of the current rainy season, the level of the Kinneret has risen just 21 centimeters, a worrying figure as far as the Water Authority is concerned, especially given data from previous years, in some of which the level of the lake rose about 20 centimeters in just one rainy day.
The rainy season in Israel is between November and March, and the multi-year average rise in the level of the Kinneret is 1.06 meters. "We are already at the end of January, and the level is only 17 centimeters above the lower red line. That is not good, and it's concerning. This year, as in the past few years, the main rain systems have been in the center and the south, and the north has simply not had enough rainfall," a senior Water Authority official said today.
Dr. Amir Givati, manager of the Surface Water Department in the Hydrological Service, said, "Unless February and March are rainy enough in the north of the country and in a way that the situation in the Kinneret and its surroundings changes, this will be the third successive year to be declared dry in the Kinneret and the northern region."
Although the level of the Kinneret is cause for concern among senior Water Authority officials, they describe the water economy in Israel as "stable", because of the seawater desalination activity of recent years and the expansion of the use of grey (recycled) water in Israel.
Israel has five desalination plants, in Ashkelon, Palmahim, Sorek, Ashdod, and Hadera, and they each supply 90-150 million cubic meters of water a year. The source of most of the water flowing to households in Israel is the desalination plants.
The Water Authority says that thanks to desalination and the expanded use of grey water, the amount of water drawn from the Kinneret has been substantially reduced, and is now minimal, as is the drawing of water from the coastal and mountain aquifers. This is part of the Water Authority's policy of rehabilitating Israel's natural water sources. Some of the water drawn from the Kinneret is pumped to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority under agreements with them.
The rainy weather currently affecting large parts of Israel is expected to continue tomorrow. About eight centimeters of snow has accumulated on the highest areas of the Galilee. Snow may continue to fall on high ground tonight, including in the Jerusalem Hills.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 25, 2016
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