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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

Kinneret water levels dropping yet again

Friday 22/June/2018 - 09:37 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
During recent years، Israel’s water jewel has been drying up، resulting in the creation of an expanding island in the middle of the northern lake; experts urge government ‘to talk less and do more، as Ynet said.’
The ongoing decrease in the Sea of Galilee's (Kinneret) water level has expanded the island near Kibbutzim of Ma'agan and HaOn where the seabed is higher and closer to the lake's surface.
The Sea of Galilee is currently 213.57 meters below water level and 57 cm below the lower red line.
Another island that lies west of the community of Tzemah is also expanding as the water level of the lake gradually decreases.
Throughout the years، the decline in water levels in the Kinneret has revealed several historical findings، including a 2000-year-old boat that is on display at the Yigal Allon Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar، an IAF aircraft that crashed in the lake in the 1950's، and old ammunition.
Significant evaporation is expected to take palce during the summer، which threatens to cause yet a further decrease in the Kinneret's water level. However، the National Infrastructure Ministry and the Water Authority are planning to pour desalinated water into the disappearing lake as part of the national effort to preserve its water line.
Nevertheless، the Mekorot Company، Israel's national water company، is still pumping water from the Kinneret.
The Kinneret's water level has reached a low point as a result of five arid years in the north of the country that brought Israel's water economy to an unprecedented situation. Israel's water level decrease rate stands at 0.5 cm per day.
During the past few months، Mekorot has held a thorough inspection of the water-pumping stations surrounding the lake to examine the potential for pumping water in lower levels in order to assure that the water supply to the area's residents is not disrupted.
The inspection showed that the water pump station's suction pipeline that supplies water to the Golan Heights has to be extended and deepened.
Despite the fact that water pumping from the Kinneret has decreased over the past few years، Mekort is still pumping some 100 million cubic meters which are equal to 60 cm in water level.
A new 190-meter suction pipeline with a 61 cm diameter was inserted into the Kinneret last month.
According to the peace agreement with Jordan، Israel is obligated to transfer its neighbor 50 million cubic meters annually، with 20 million cubic meters being salt water transferred to the eastern side of the southern Jordan River. The salt water is mixed with 10 million cubic meters of sweet water.
An additional quantity of water is pumped to supply the residents of Tiberias and other communities surrounding the lake with drinking water as well as to irrigate the Golan Heights communities.
Emek HaYarden Regional Council's head Idan Greenbaum said that "The sad look of the island expanding near Kibbutz Ma'agan is the result of a major crisis in the Kinneret."
"This is the fifth consecutive year the Kinneret suffers from a low precipitation. The day when we will no longer be able to use the Kinneret's salt water to irrigate the fields and plantations that create the beautiful green view around our national lake is approaching،" he lamented.
"We reiterate our demand for the government to talk less and do more and to provide applicable solutions to improve Israel's grave water situation،" Greenbaum concluded.
Greenpeace said that the "constant decrease in the Sea of Galilee's water level and the drought we are experiencing indicate the destructive ramifications of the climate changes."
"(Climate changes) affect precipitation levels which put the water economy in severe distress. The expanding island in the Kinneret is a wake-up call for the government to prioritize its preparedness for climate change، to reduce greenhouse gas emissions، avoid excessive production of gas energy، and invest in production of renewable energy and energetic efficiency،" Greenpeace elaborated.






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