Kinneret Water Levels Expected to Reach the Black Line

Smallest amount of water ever recorded enters Kinneret in November; further pumping could cause permanent damage to water supply.

Despite predictions of an upcoming stormy weekend, Israel will probably have to manage its water economy with various reservoirs reaching the black line, at which point further pumping could cause permanent damage to the quality of Israel's water, according to the Mekorot water company.

Mekorot's chief hydrologist, Dr. Yossi Guttman, says the conclusions are based on the expected amount of rainfall in the coming rainy season and the fact that no additional desalination plant is scheduled to go into operation this year to counter the effects of the drought.

A pipe used to pump water from Lake Kinneret
Yaron Kaminsky

According to Guttman, Israel's high-quality western mountain aquifer is already a few centimeters below the red line, below which point no pumping should take place, and the amount of water flowing through the Jordan River is only half what it was a year ago.

The level of Lake Kinneret declined by 18 centimeters in November, with only 10 million cubic meters of water entering the lake, the smallest amount ever recorded in November.

Guttman said the main risk under these circumstances is salination, the penetration of sea water or saline ground water into the sweet-water aquifer, and that pumping may have to be limited in areas where the risk of salination is greatest. "Our advantage is that we have a national system and can move water from one region to another," he said.