Water Flowing Into the Kinneret Slower Than Ever, Report Finds

Environmentalists call on government to take long-term steps to conserve water in all areas, including the private sector.

The water flow from some of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret has decreased to its lowest levels in recorded history, according to figures released this week by the Water Authority's Hydrological Service.

The report indicates that the amount of water flowing into the Kinneret last month was the lowest since 2001, and one of the lowest since measurement began in 1948. The lack of rainfall and consequent reduction in water flow to the Jordan River's tributaries - the Banias, Dan and Snir - are likely to lead to a further reduction in water levels.

The figures show that the springs' water supply (the force of water flow divided by time) is now 3.12 cubic meters per second, the slowest rate ever reported. These are the largest springs in Israel in terms of overall water flow.

At the Banias spring in the Golan Heights, water supply reached 0.32 cubic meters per second, a figure expected to fall in the coming days to a historic low due to a lack of rainfall. At the measurement station at the Snir, a lower level was measured than the previous low point, recorded in 2001.

As a result, water flow from the upper Jordan River, the area north of the Kinneret, is less than half of what it was a year ago.

The Mekorot water utility has limited its water pumping in recent weeks from the Kinneret to the National Water Carrier, and thus slowed the water level's descent in the lake. Last year, levels began rising at the start of December, but in December this year levels have continued to fall.

The Dead Sea's water level has fallen 1.40 meters since December 2007.

In response to the figures, the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel called on the government to operate urgently to take long-term steps to conserve water in all areas, including the private sector.

The environmental organization called for a target of 20 percent water conservation annually, or between 100 and 150 million cubic meters, a figure similar to the amount of water Israel desalinates today.