Rain drops 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
There were significantly more rainstorms in February than in preceding months,
particularly in the North, the Water Authority said on Thursday. So much so,
that Lake Kinneret rose 54 centimeters.
Last February, the lake rose 37
The overall volume of available water in the Kinneret, however, is
nearly 110 million cubic meters less than in an average year. From the beginning
of the rainy season until March 1, 122 million cubic meters of water was
available, whereas the average is 229 million cubic meters.
The area is
in the midst of a series of arid years that have eaten away any surplus liquid
and plunged the country deep into a worsening water crisis.
percent of an average winter’s rainfall has fallen with much of the rainy months
behind us, the Water Authority said.
While the North received the average
amount of rain in February, the Mountain and Coastal aquifers received only 50%
of the average.
In the Yarkon-Taninim basin, the western basin of the
Mountain Aquifer, the water level rose in the center and northern part by 10-16
cm., but the water level in the southern part dropped by a cm. In the southern
part of the basin, the water level is 26 cm. below the red line and 24 cm. lower
than it was this time last year.
Even the center part of the basin, which
did rise and which is 18 cm. above the red line, is still 35 cm. lower than at
this time last year.
Similarly, the northern part of the basin is higher
than the red line by 128 cm. but is still 66 cm. lower than it was last year at
the same time.
The water levels in the Western Galilee basin were also
very low in February. In comparison to last February, The Naaman Basin is 1.83
meters lower and the Cabri Basin is over two meters lower.
the heavier February rains, the water situation is no less dire.
why the government has turned to desalination to supplement the natural supply.
Earlier this week, the National Planning and Building Council authorized the
expansion of the Palmahim desalination plant. While this is contingent on
approval from the district committee as well, the move is part of the
government’s emergency plan to increase capacity by about 200 million cubic
meters annually by 2014.
In addition to the emergency plan, three more
desalination plants are to be built over the next three years. Once all the
plants are working, the country will be producing 600 million cubic meters of
water from desalination annually. That’s almost the equivalent of the total
household demand of 650 million cubic meters a year.
In the meantime,
though, the Water Authority is preparing measures to cut back on fresh water
allocated to agriculture and watering parks if the winter rains are