Kinneret Still Low on Water, Despite Heavy Rain

Level rose 8.5 cm over the weekend.

The weekend rain in the north caused Lake Kinneret to rise by 8.5 centimeters in two days, but it is still in bad shape.

As of yesterday, the lake has a water balance of minus 213.76 meters below sea level. That puts it at nearly one meter below the lake's lower red line, which is the middle of three lines and signals a dangerously low water level, below which pumping could damage the water quality.

The shore of Lake Kinneret in 2008.
Yaron Kaminsky
Rainy season?

This is particularly troubling because the winter rainy season is supposed to be the best time of year for the Kinneret.

Eighty millimeters of rain fell in the Tiberias area over the weekend, adding more water in the Kinneret's feeder streams and contributing to the rise in its level. But as the rain came to a halt Saturday, the streams stopped pumping up the Kinneret.

The lake's water level rose by 15 centimeters in the entire month of January, compared with a 62-centimeter rise in the same month last year, according to the Israel Hydrological Service.

And it's not only the Kinneret that's in trouble: The central and southern sections of the mountain aquifer system, Israel's primary groundwater source, are also registering low levels. The level in the southern section is 25 centimeters below that aquifer's red line, and is 11 centimeters lower than it was last January.