'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.

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

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

"Onehundred percent of the streams in the western and eastern Galilee areflowing strongly. Two hundred millimeters of rain in a day is a lot ofwater," he said.

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

Warning that his data was only an estimate, he based hiscalculations on the amount of rain that fell on the Kinneret itself andthe amount of water flowing in the lake's tributaries. The preciselevel of the Kinneret is unknown at present since Water Authorityemployees have been on a labor strike for two months and have refusedto measure it.

"This is the most water we've seen this year, butit's not a historic year by any means," Glazman said, adding that heexpected the streams to continue flowing strongly for the next fewweeks. 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 hascompromised roads and even killed two people, they pose no problem forthe streams' ecological systems, nor do they overflow the reservoirs,according to Glazman.

"Suchdownpours are good for streams. They clear out the debris that hasgathered along their path during the drier years. A good ecologicalsystem knows how to deal with both drought and floods," he told the Post.

There are rainwater collection reservoirs around the country andmany of them have been filled over the past two days, Glazmanconfirmed.

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

There are fewer reservoirs on the coast to catch the rainwaterbefore it goes into the sea because of the sediment buildup, heexplained.

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