Friday, October 03, 2008

Sea of Galilee Down 6 Feet in 6 Months

Since April 3 this year, the Sea of Galilee has dropped 6.4 feet (2.0 m), a new record for the size of drop in this amount of time.  Israel has had four years of below average rainfall.  If the water level drops another 2.6 feet (0.82 m), all pumping from the lake will cease.  The Jerusalem Post reports:

The water level in Lake Kinneret dropped two meters this year, the Water Authority said Thursday, a steeper annual drop than in any previous year.

The hydrological year ended on September 30 with the Kinneret at 214.05 meters below sea level, down from its height of 212.05 meters below sea level reached on April 3.

The Kinneret's "black line," newly coined this year, is 214.87 meters below sea level. When the black line is reached, the pumps in the lake are exposed to the air, and they can no longer send water into the National Water Carrier.

In July, the lake dropped below the "red line," at which the concentration of pollutants rises to undesirable levels.

Since spring 2004 the Kinneret has lost 5.13 meters, which is equivalent to 850 million cubic meters of water, the authority said. That is roughly equivalent to an entire year's worth of household water use.

This was the fourth consecutive year of dwindling rainfall and the forecast for the next couple of years is just as bleak.

You can read the rest here.

Sea of Galilee at dusk, tb040306012ddd

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Water Crisis in Israel

From the JPost:

"This is the worst crisis since records started being kept 80 years ago," Water Authority head Uri Shani declared Tuesday morning at a special press conference in Tel Aviv. "Like most countries, Israel is dependent on rainfall and the amount of rainfall is decreasing. There is a drop of 100 million cubic meters per year."

Shani described a situation of increasing damage to Israel's main natural water sources. The Coastal Aquifer "has dropped below its black line," which means that it will suffer rapid damage, possibly irreversible damage, Shani said.

The water level in the Mountain Aquifer was currently a meter above its Lower Red Line, but was also expected to reach its bottom limit - the Black Line - by this year. He added that water levels in the aquifers had never been this low.

Shani predicted that Lake Kinneret [Sea of Galilee] would reach its Black Line by December 2008. The Kinneret dropped below its bottom limit on Monday, 213 meters below sea level. The lake's Black Line is 214.87 meters below sea level.

The story continues here.

Sea of Galilee water level sign, tb052808512 
New sign in Tiberias displays the present water level in the Sea of Galilee, a main source of fresh water for Israel today

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The South Wind

David Bivin has posted a helpful reflection on a sirocco in Israel on the Jerusalem Perspective Blog.  This condition is also sometimes referred to as a khamsin or sharav (though there is a difference between the two).


Monday, February 25, 2008

Flash Flood at En Gedi

Flash floods in Israel are deadly; it seems that people are killed by them each year.  From today's Jerusalem Post:

A US citizen was killed Monday afternoon in one of the fiercest floods Ein Gedi had seen for years, police and rescue officials said.

The man's girlfriend, who had been missing and feared dead, was later found alive by rescue services.

According to staff at the Ein Gedi nature reserve, the pair was seen entering the Nachal David gorge earlier in the day. Strong rains have brought about a sudden flooding of the riverbed, and in the early afternoon the body of the American tourist was discovered in the water.

Rescuers that found the victim's car parked nearby noticed a pair of high-heeled shoes in the vehicle, leading them to assume he was accompanied by a woman. The local staff confirmed that two people were seen entering the area.

Army helicopters and police forces were searching for the woman and said they feared for her life.

At roughly the same time, a group of 30 travelers stranded in another riverbed nearby were rescued unharmed.

Nature reserve officials said the flood was very sudden, with little prior warning.

Previous coverage of flash floods on this blog include a video and photos.

Nahal David, En Gedi

Nahal Arugot bridge washed out from north4, tb n052301999 
Bridge washed out in 2001, Nahal Arugot, En Gedi

Other photos of En Gedi are here.