Israel's water sources rapidly drying up
Water Authority announced that ongoing drought so bad even above average rainfall next year isn't enough to replenish water sources; Kinneret nearing black line at 214.86 meters below sea level; working on developing resources to improve weather forecasting, efficient water utilization.
The Water Authority announced Sunday that even if the coming winter brings average precipitation, or even above average, the hydrological drought will continue.
They said that the Kinneret is drying up at a rapid pace and approaching its black line. They added that an accurate weather forecast for the coming year will be available next month.
The Water Authority said that the deficit in Israel's natural water reserves, after five consecutive drought years, is substantial. The Authority said that even given one average rainy year and the continued cessation of pumping from the Sea of Galilee to the national water carrier, the sea will remain below the lower red line by the end of next winter.
The Water Authority added that ahead of the end of the summer of 2018, the country's water resources —streams, springs, the Sea of Galilee and the underground aquifers — are in the worst situation in years, some of them are even on the way to breaking historic records of (lack of) water flow.
To demonstrate, they used the example of the Kinneret, whose water line is currently at 214.20 meters below sea level, and by the beginning of the rainy season is expected to continue to descend by about 1 cm every day and approach the top of the black line, which is situated at 214.86 meters below sea level.
The result can be seen by anyone: the "island" that was exposed in the Sea of Galilee, opposite Kibbutz Ma'agan, is expected to soon connect to the beach.
In addition, the Water Authority said that the severe drought of the past five years has mainly affected the water sources in the north of the country, but the rest of the water sources also have huge shortages. There is a deficit of about 2.5 billion cubic meters.
The Water Authority said that unlike neighboring countries, where there are no desalination plants, the situation in Israel is pretty good because of steps that were taken in preparation.
“The Water Authority continues to prepare to respond to the increasing trend of dehydration in the entire region. At the same time, the Water Authority is working to increase efficiency and prevent water waste as a permanent lifestyle,” said a statement issued by the authority.
“In addition, two additional large desalination plants are being planned, as well as other steps, to supplement the water sources for all uses. The Water Authority is also developing tools for forecasting the flow in streams over different periods of time: flood forecasting and intensity to seasonal predictions of the quantities of water expected to be received in a given year as well as over longer time periods in order to enable all elements in the economy to prepare and plan their activities and investments wisely and effectively.
“Climate change requires us all to carefully manage and prevent water waste as a way of life, during rainy years as well, of which we hope and are confident that there will be.”
Uri Dorman, chairman of the Galilee Development Corporation said after the publication of the pessimistic data: "We hope that the forecast for another drought year will not actualize. After five years of drought and water (quota) cuts, we hope that the government will invest in the construction of desalination plants to supply drinking water and agriculture to the Galilee and the Golan Heights. In any event, the government must prepare a contingency plan to compensate the farmers and growers if, heaven forbid, this difficult forecast materializes. We hope there will be no need to apply this program."