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April 12, 2020 9:05 pm

After Years of Drought, Israel’s Lake Kinneret to Be Full for First Time in Almost Three Decades

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

People cool off in the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, Nov. 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

After an unusually wet winter, Israel’s northern lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is set to be full for the first time in decades, Israeli news website N12 reported on Sunday.

After a weekend of heavy rains, the Kinneret rose by six centimeters, bringing the water level to 209 meters, only 21 centimeters from the “red line” that marks its full capacity.

Two-thirds of Israeli territory is desert, and the country usually contends with a lack rather than a surplus of water, but the last two years have brought higher than average rainfall following several years of drought.

The Kinneret once served as Israel’s main source of fresh water, but due to the fluctuation, the country has mostly switched over to other water sources and desalination. Now, however, Israel’s Water Authority is once again permitting the use of the lake as a water source.

Dr. Amir Givati, director of flood modeling at the company ClimaCell, told N12, “In just two years, the Kinneret has risen by more than 5.5 meters. The Kinneret will continue to rise in the coming days and already by the beginning of May the level is expected to stabilize for the first time since February 1992 at the top of the red line, which means a full Kinneret.”

In order to prevent flooding, the authorities will likely use the Degania Dam to release excess water into the Jordan River should the Kinneret continue to rise. Built in 1931, the dam has only been opened twice in Israel’s history – in 1969 and 1992, the last time the Kinneret was full.

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