Rains fill Kinneret to 4-year high

The water level is still at least 3.5 meters short of the optimal level.

The latest rain and snow storm is the strongest so far of this winter's rainy season. The precipitation is raising the water level in the Kinneret, and the Water Authority estimates that the level will exceed one meter above the lower red line for the first time in four years.

Meteorological Service surface water director Dr. Amir Givati told "Globes" today that the precipitation in the current storm, especially in north, has been particularly heavy. "Last night was calmer, but the rain strengthened this morning, and there is very strong flow in the rivers. Everything is flowing into the Kinneret, filling it. This should not be taken for granted. The rivers on the Golan have not been so full in at least 4-5 years," he said.

100 mm of rain fell in the Galilee by morning, 60-70 mm in the Judean Mountains, and 50-60 mm in Coastal Plain. "This is the biggest rain storm since the beginning of winter," said Givati. "Since the storm began, and through this morning, the Kinneret's water level has risen seven centimeters - and this is just the start. What is now flowing into the lake will be measured tomorrow morning, and I believe that we'll see a further ten centimeter rise."

The Kinneret's upper red line is 208.9 meters below sea level, the lower red line is 213.18 meters below sea level, and the black line - below which water cannot be pumped without causing severe damage to Israel's water supply - is 214.87 below sea level.

At the last measurement, the Kinneret's water level was 212.39 meters below sea level, 61 centimeters above the lower red line. The Water Authority believes that the water level could reach a meter above the lower red line by early next week.

"It's still premature to celebrate, since we still lack at least 3.5 meters of water, and we're very far from there," says Givati.

A senior Water Authority official said, "Even if we have three more such storms this winter, and next winter is as wet as this one, we won't reach the upper level. The opening of the Degania Dam is still a remote dream."

The Water Authority emphasized that, despite this year's good rains, after seven years of drought, the public should continue conserving water. It added that there are no plans to lower the price of water anytime soon, since the price reflects its cost, which includes investments in infrastructure, desalination plants, and the pipeline network.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 1, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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