Israel is experiencing its eighth consecutive dry winter, according to statistics for the first part of the rainy season.
Hydrological Service data show that the rainfall from October through December came to only 72 percent of the average for this period. Moreover, what are usually some of the wettest areas of the country have been especially dry this year. The Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights saw only 57 percent of their average rainfall. The central mountains got only 60 to 70 percent of their normal precipitation, and the central coastal plain - 80 to 85 percent.
However, as a result of last year's rains, the Jordan River is still flowing strong at the point where it enters the northern Kinneret - at only 9 cubic meters less per second than the average.
The lack of rainfall has not yet affected the level of the Kinneret, which rose 3 centimeters in December, the same amount as it rose last year at this time. As in the past seven winters, the lake is 36 centimeters below the upper red line (at which point the dam at the southern end of the lake is opened ). of 208.8 meters below sea level.
The level of the Dead Sea is continuing to drop. In early December it stood at 425.5 meters below sea level, 26.5 meters lower than October 1976, when the level began to fall.
In a few weeks the World Bank is to release the main points of a plan for a pipeline that would bring 1.2 billion cubic meters of water annually from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea through Jordan, in order to address the problem of the shrinking Dead Sea. The plan is contingent on the approval of Israel and Jordan as well as an environmental impact report.
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