Rain drops 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The water level of Lake Kinneret has risen 2.5 centimeters since Sunday and 5.5
centimeters since the beginning of the storm on Thursday. In total, the Kinneret
has risen 15 to 16 centimeters in January, Water Authority Spokesman Uri Schor
said on Monday.
However, “last January, the water level of the Kinneret
rose 60 centimeters. So we’ve only gotten about a third of the rain that we did
last year – and last year was not such an amazing year to begin with,” Schor
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The rain poured down on the north and the coast on Saturday,
dumping between 20-28 centimeters as recorded by a number of monitoring stations
run by the Israel Meteorological Service.
By Sunday, the rain had shifted
east and south, drenching Jerusalem and Beersheba, a trend which continued on
Monday. The rains are only expected to taper off Wednesday.
Israel is in
the latest of a series of below-average years of rainfall, going back to 2004.
Thus far, this winter ranks with 2008 as the worst of the last six years and the
Water Authority and the National Infrastructures Ministry are in the process of
implementing an emergency plan for the next two to three years.
Sunday, the cabinet approved the first part of the plan, which included
expanding the desalination plant capacities.
Schor told The Jerusalem
Post the emergency plan includes measures to both increase supply and curb
“On the supply side, the desalination plants’ capacities will be
increased. We are going to desalinate more brackish water as well. We’ll drill
more wells and we’ll increase the amount of sewage that is treated and reused
Right now, 80% of sewage is reused, but we want to push
that higher,” he said.
“On the demand side, we’re increasing our public
awareness campaigns to encourage conservation. We’re also doing more inspections
and enforcement,” according to Schor.
The Water Authority has just
completed giving out two million free water saving devices for faucets. Schor
said that represented about 40% of households.
“We’re going to continue
the campaign and target another 15% of the population,” he said.
Water Authority will also launch a campaign to rehabilitate pipes in old
Schor said there were a number of measures the Water Authority
was weighing whether to implement depending on how bad the winter turns out to
“We’re considering cutting the allocation to agriculture and to
We’re also weighing changing the pricing structure,” such
that heavy water users would pay more while light users would pay less, he
On Sunday, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau said one of
the measures he would present in the coming month for cabinet approval would be
state subsidies for water so that the public would not have to undergo another
Water prices rose 32% last year as Mekorot, the national
water company, is preparing to connect the additional desalination plants to be
built over the next three years to the National Water Carrier.
addition to the hookups, the flow in the carrier must be altered from
north-south to east and then north and south as vastly more water will be
produced via desalination than will be pumped from the Kinneret.
water is already produced by desalination than pumped from the Kinneret and the
amount of desalinated water is expected to more than double over the next two to