This winter's exceptionally heavy rainfall has seen the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) rise by 15 centimeters over the past 48 hours, the Kinneret and Rivers Drainage Authority reports. The Kinneret's surface is now 214.29 centimeters below sea level but still has a shortfall of 5.49 meters below its full level.
The continuing heavy rainfall overnight means that the Kinneret will continue rising fast over the next few days, with a strong flow of water in the region's streams. In the past few years, northern Israel has suffered from drought, while heavier rains have been falling in the south. But this phenomenon has been reversed this winter. Since Saturday night, and as of 7pm last night, 150 millimeters of rain had fallen in Maalot (25% of the annual average), according to the Israel Meteorological Service. 140 millimeters fell in the Northern Golan, 120 millimeters in the Upper Galilee (Dalton), 83 millimeters in Haifa, 73 millimeters directly into the Kinneret but only 14 millimeters in Tel Aviv and 11 millimeters in Jerusalem.
This week's heavy rainfall combined with one of the wettest Decembers in the past 30 years means that all regions of central and northern Israel have already had 60%-80% of their annual average precipitation. However, rainfall in the south has been far below the annual average.
90 centimeters of snow at the lower level of the Mount Hermon ski resort means that the facility will open over the weekend for the first time this season.
The rain will taper off today with fine weather forecast through to Sunday, when another bout of heavy rainfall will buffett the region.
This winter's heavy rainfall has boosted Israel's water reserves just as a crisis looms because the Israeli government's desalination building program is behind schedule. The country's 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 9, 2019
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