Israel’s Winter Has Been Cold, But Not Wet Enough

Lower than hoped rainfall means Sea of Galilee dam likely won’t be opened this year

A Jewish settler cuts wood for the winter
Gershon Elinson/Flash90

In the photo: A resident of the Jewish village of Bat Ayin in Judea, just south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, cuts firewood for the winter.

Winter in Israel this year has been cold, and very windy. But early heavy rains have now subsided and the Land has been relatively dry for the past couple weeks.

There was hope that the Sea of Galilee would fill enough this winter to open the Degania Dam for the first time since 2013 and send the excessive water flowing down the Jordan River. That fabled biblical river has been flowing at a low level for the better part of the past decade, and therefore has been unable to adequately supply a diminishing Dead Sea.

But this week Israel’s National Water Carrier (Mekorot) said that the likelihood of the dam being opened this year is now very low. This is due to both lower than expected rainfall in recent weeks and continued heavy pumping from the Sea of Galilee.

However, there remains reason to be optimistic. Israel is not facing a drought, and the Sea of Galilee is still much fuller than it has been in many years.

See our report from earlier this year: The Sea of Galilee is Overflowing

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