'Streams in North haven't flowed like this for last 7 years'

Kinneret rises at least 20 centimeters in two days, but latest heavy rains do not yet add up to a 'historic' year.

January 22, 2010 00:17
2 minute read.
The Meron stream flows freely after torrential rai

meron stream 311. (photo credit: Ariela Erez / NPA)

All the streams in the North of the country are flowing strongly with water for the first time in seven years, Hillel Glazman, director of the Streams Monitoring Department at the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA), told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. The last time all of the streams were running was in 2003-4.

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"One hundred percent of the streams in the western and eastern Galilee are flowing strongly. Two hundred millimeters of rain in a day is a lot of water," he said.

Glazman also estimated that Lake Kinneret rose at least 20 cm over the past two days and about half a meter since the start of the rainy season in November, "which is not a lot."

Warning that his data was only an estimate, he based his calculations on the amount of rain that fell on the Kinneret itself and the amount of water flowing in the lake's tributaries. The precise level of the Kinneret is unknown at present since Water Authority employees have been on a labor strike for two months and have refused to measure it.

"This is the most water we've seen this year, but it's not a historic year by any means," Glazman said, adding that he expected the streams to continue flowing strongly for the next few weeks. The forecast calls for more rain Sunday and Monday next week and "let's hope February and March are rainy, too."

While the strong downpours have led to flooding, which has compromised roads and even killed two people, they pose no problem for the streams' ecological systems, nor do they overflow the reservoirs, according to Glazman.

"Such downpours are good for streams. They clear out the debris that has gathered along their path during the drier years. A good ecological system knows how to deal with both drought and floods," he told the Post.

There are rainwater collection reservoirs around the country and many of them have been filled over the past two days, Glazman confirmed.

"All of the reservoirs in the South were filled. They had no trouble handling the flooding because they were empty. The ones on the Golan Heights also filled up with respectable amounts of water," he said.

There are fewer reservoirs on the coast to catch the rainwater before it goes into the sea because of the sediment buildup, he explained.

"The state tried to build reservoirs on the coast in the early days, but the cost of cleaning out the sediment was too high, so there aren't many reservoirs on the coast now," Glazman noted.

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