Israel still facing severe water shortage

Monday, April 11, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

Israel has mercifully received a lot of rainfall over the past month, leading some to believe that the seven-year drought is coming to an end.

But Water Authority officials warned that Israel is still in the midst of the drought, and the coming summer may be the worst yet.

While Israel did have a very wet March compared to last year, the first half of the winter rainy season was extremely poor in terms of rainfall.

“This winter, we didn’t make up for our lack of water and didn’t even fulfill this year’s demands,” Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor told The Jerusalem Post.

Schor noted that the lack of rainfall was particularly bad in the center and south of the country, where reservoirs that are usually full by the end of winter remain empty as we enter the dry summer months.

Northern Israel’s Sea of Galilee, or Lake Kinneret, is the most recognized yardstick of Israel’s water situation. The Kinneret did rise by an impressive 65 centimeters over the past month. But it still sits dangerously close to its “black line” - the level at which water can no longer be pumped for domestic use.

In all, the Kinneret has dropped 3.74 meters (more than 12 feet) over the past 8-10 years. It is not expected to fully recover without a miracle or a herculean effort that Israel currently is unequipped to undertake.

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