Kinneret Water Level Hits 97-Year Low

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

The rainy season is long gone, and even the snow has melted — so whatever water the Kinneret currently has is as much as it is going to have through at least November. On Sunday, the Water Authority said that the current level of the lake is lower than it has been in almost a century.

The Kinneret is suffering from a water deficit of some 10 million cubic liters, more than at any time since 1920. The lake now stands at 12 centimeters below the “red line,” the maximum amount it can hold. The Authority said that the situation this summer is similar to that in 2014, when a lack of water halted all water pumping from the lake altogether.

The rainy season this year 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 was 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.