Heavy rains bring Israel's Sea of Galilee above 'red line'

Monday, March 01, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

A weekend of heavy rain across Israel brought the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main fresh water reservoir, up above its "red line" for the first time in over a year.

The red line indicated the level at which Israel should seriously consider halting the pumping of water from the Sea of Galilee in order to avoid permanent environmental damage to the lake.

But the ongoing needs of the populace outweighed the dangers to the lake, and pumping reluctantly continued, even after the Sea of Galilee dropped below the red line in early 2009.

Later in the year, the government set a new "black line" at 215 meters below sea level, at which point water could under no circumstances be drawn from the lake. At the start of winter, the lake was only half a meter from the black line.

But the weekend downpour, which hit the hardest in northern Israel, added more than 10 centimeters to the lake. Together with the rest of the winter rainfall, and the expected runoff from the snow accumulated on Mt. Hermon, the Sea of Galilee is now safely above the red line, for the time being.

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