Officials: Kinneret Can’t Take Another Dry Year

YERUSHALAYIM -
Sunset at the Kinneret. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

The rainy season in Israel is almost at an end, and it was far from a stellar one: Rainfall was only average in the center of the country, but in some areas of the north, it was significantly less than hoped for. In fact, according to the Water Authority, this is the fourth year in a row of below-average rainfall in northern Israel — and another year of generally un-wet weather could endanger the Kinneret.

“Except for December, which was quite stormy, this has not been an exceptional year,” the Authority said. “The beginning of the season, in October and November, was nearly totally dry, with the Kinneret and other water sources undergoing evaporation that led to an increased demand for water by farmers and in cities, more than in recent years.” January was not a particularly wet month, while “February broke records for dryness in the north,” leading to another spike in the demand for water.

The Kinneret is very close to the “black line,” below which significant damage could be done to its environmental integrity, the Authority said, despite the fact that practically no water was pumped from it this year for usage. Most water being used by Israelis is either desalinated or recycled. With that, the lake’s level is expected to continue to fall, as the summer heat speeds up evaporation. In addition, the Authority said, the coastal and mountain aquifers which have been supplying water this year are also not in good shape, and are expected to reach their red lines by the end of the summer.