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Sea of Galilee Nears Its Full Capacity After a Weekend of Heavy Rainfall

Lake Kinneret water level is now only eight inches under it maximum – but Israel's Water Authority does not expect to open this year the dam sending water into the Jordan River

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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The Sea of Galilee, April 12, 2020.
The Sea of Galilee, April 12, 2020.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

The water level of Lake Kinneret – better known as the Sea of Galilee – rose 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) over the weekend and on Sunday was only 21 centimeters under its “upper red line,” the level at which the lake overflows and floods homes in communities on its shores.

After a weekend of heavy rains and the resulting heavy flow in the streams feeding the Kinneret, the lake reached 209.1 meters below sea level.

Haredi leaders learn harsh corona lesson as Israel sends in the troopsCredit: Haaretz

The level is expected to rise even more this week, in part because water is not pumped out and into the National Water Carrier during the week of Passover out of fear that the lake could contain leaven, which is forbidden by Jewish law on the holiday.

The Water Authority estimated last month that it will not need to open the Degania dam at the southern end of the Kinneret this year unless “exceptional” rainfall occurs in the next few weeks. “The last two years were good, but expected dry periods are forecast for our region and we must prepare for it,” said the authority’s director, Giora Shaham.

The Degania dam was last opened in 1995, and in 2004 the level of the freshwater lake reached just eight centimeters below its upper red line. Opening the dam sends water into the Jordan River, which then flows down to the Dead Sea.

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