Weathermen Say This Year Was No Drought

The Water Authority recently embarked on yet another water savings campaign and along with Mekorot, the national water company, has claimed that this year too has been one in a series of drought years. But the Meteorological Service, the authorized body for collecting data on rainfall, says that this was not a drought year.

In the drought report released by the Water Authority and Mekorot, this year was described as having the characteristics of a drought year using data taken from four meteorological stations, calculating rainfall during the rainy season from October to the end of May.

Heavy rains flooding Kiryat Motzkin in November 2009
Tomer Nueberg

The Meteorological Service, however, says it is not possible to use such a limited sample of data for analyzing the rainy season. Moreover, the meteorologists say that even on the basis of this narrow sample it is not possible to argue that the 2009-2010 rainy season was a year of drought.

According to the Meteorological Service, the amount of rainfall reached the 90-95 percent mark of the multiyear data bank, and therefore it can be said that the rainfall was only a little less than average - but not that of a drought year.

The service says that in some parts of northern Israel, in Samaria and parts of the Judean hills and northern Dead Sea, the amount of rainfall was 105-110 percent of the average for these regions, and in the Sharon region it stood at 120 percent. The only area where there was relatively low rainfall was along the southern coastal plain, and the northern and western Negev (70-75 percent of average ).

While the Meteorological Service acknowledges that the past seven years had less rainfall than the multi-year average, they point to the 1950s and early 1960s and say that those were consecutive years with a lot less rainfall. The Water Authority says that over the past five years the levels of underground water reservoirs have dropped, and even though Lake Kinneret received average amounts of rainfall, over time there has been a noticeable shortage.

On the basis of their analysis the Water Authority and Mekorot are continuing with preparations for building infrastructure for desalination plants.

Meanwhile, water prices are expected to increase by five percent tomorrow, as part of efforts to adjust prices to the cost of developing new water desalination and purification systems, the latter for allowing the reuse of slightly contaminated "gray" waters (bathwater, kitchen sink water, etc. ).

Originally the plan was to raise water prices by 15 percent, however, following the drop in the price of electricity, a central element in the cost of water production, it was decided to raise prices only by five percent.