Despite Heavy Rains, Kinneret Still Lacking

View of the Kinneret as seen from Mitzpeh Ofir in the Golan Heights. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

December was the rainiest 12th month of the year since 1992, final figures for the year show; and it was the coldest since 1994. Despite that, the Kinneret has risen just 24 centimeters, and is at its lowest level since January 2012.

Northern Israel and the coastal plain have been the great beneficiaries of the heavy rains that fell last month. The areas have received 110 percent and 140 percent of the average rainfall they usually get by the end of December. Less “favored” by the rain was southern Israel, where rainfall was below average, between 50 percent and 80 percent, depending on the area.

With that, the Kinneret is still lagging behind what water experts had hoped it would be. The lake is still 60 cm below the “bottom red line,” at which point water cannot be pumped from the Kinneret. The lake is 4.8 meters below its full level, with the overall level falling 39 centimeters in 2016.

But officials hope that, b’ezras Hashem, this will change. While the Kinneret is still far below its full level, Israel’s largest fresh lake is likely to rise significantly in the coming weeks. Streams in northern Israel are flowing at their strongest levels in years, and all that water will eventually find its way to the Kinneret. The flow of streams is the strongest since at least 2012, Water Authority officials said, auguring positive results for the season.