Israel Just Suffered Its Driest August Ever Recorded

Future doesn't look promising, either: In first months of upcoming rainy season, amount of precipitation is forecast to be lower than past average

The amount of water added to Lake Kinneret last month is the lowest on record for August in the past hundred years, according to the Israel Meteorological Service. After four consecutive years of little precipitation, water sources in the area are in very serious condition. The Water Authority predicts that another year of meager precipitation in the region will bring the level of the lake to an unprecedented low next summer. The same worrisome trend is being seen in other natural water sources; the waters of Nahal Taninim have already been measured at their lowest level ever.

The latest monthly report by the Israeli Hydrological Service puts the amount of available water in the Kinneret (comprised of the water that comes from the rivers, minus the water that has evaporated from the lake) at minus 26 million cubic meters. This is the lowest quantity recorded in August in a hundred years. Last month, the lake’s water level went down by 27.5 centimeters, and came close to 90 centimeters below the bottom red line.

The Hydrological Service’s weather forecasting models indicate that in the first months of the upcoming rainy season, the amount of precipitation is expected to be lower than the multiyear average, possibly by a significant amount. If the amount of precipitation throughout the rainy season is lower than the multiyear average, by the end of next year the Kinneret’s water level will have dwindled to an unprecedented low of minus 215 centimeters. That means the saltiness of the water will rise significantly, making it problematic for the water to be used for local agriculture.

The water level of the Dead Sea went down by 13 centimeters in August, for a total decline of 128 centimeters since the start of the hydrological year (from October to October). By the end of next month, the total year-long decline will likely come close to the record that was set in 2012.

A significant decline in water quantities was also recorded in the major streams that flow into the Jordan River and in ground water reservoirs. In the springs that flow into the Dan stream, and in the Banias springs, the flow was much thinner than the multiyear average.

In the north of the Western Mountain Aquifer, the level fell below the red line. At Nahal Taninim, the force of the current was measured at its weakest level ever – minus 0.27 cubic meters per second. This site is one of two main sources from which water flows into the Western Mountain Aquifer.