Water levels in Israel critical in 4th consecutive drought year

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View of the receding coast of the Sea of Galilee (Photo: Beivushtang/Wikimedia Commons)

As Texas deals with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and Florida that of Hurricane Irma, Israel is facing the opposite crisis: an abject lack of water as a result of decreased rainfall this year.

Once again, the Israel Water Authority has reported record lows for August. The Authority called 2017 one of Israel’s most difficult years in terms of water resources. The level of the Kinneret is at 213.95 meters below sea level as of Sept. 9, which is dangerously close to its historic low of 214.87, according to information from the Israel Water Authority.

More water is being pumped and evaporated from the Sea of Galilee — a major water source for the country — than is flowing into it from the Golan Heights and the Jordan valley, Ynet reported. Indeed, dirt hills from the bottom of the lake have surfaced as small islands.

Moreover, the water level in the Dead Sea is continuing to fall at an exceedingly fast rate. In addition, there is only a low level of water coming into the mountain aquifer from the Taninim Springs. The mountain aquifer is the main ground water basin in the area, and supplies almost all the water in the West Bank and a third of the water in Israel.

Water Authority spokesman Uri Shor told Ynet that Israeli drinking water has not yet been affected by the need for rain because of the availability of desalination plants. Nevertheless, there is a concern that these facilities will not be able to manage the volume of work if there is not enough rain in the near future.

In any event, irrespective of drinking water availability, Shor said, “nature, agriculture and the environment around us are seriously hurt.”

This is the fourth year in a row that Israel has been declared officially in drought.