After Years of Drought, Sea of Galilee Rises above Lower Red Line

March 1, 2019

by: Ilse Strauss

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The Sea of Galilee

Friday, 1 March 2019 | Following five years of drought that saw Israel’s natural water sources plummet to near disastrous levels, there is reason to rejoice. The Promised Land enjoyed a particularly rainy winter, pushing the water level of the Sea of Galilee—Israel’s largest freshwater body that supplies nearly 10% of the country’s drinking water needs—above the lower red line for the first time in two years, the Water Authority announced at the beginning of the week.

In more good news, bountiful downpours over the past two days meant an additional climb of 2.4 inches (6 cm) over only 24 hours, which put the Sea of Galilee’s water levels at 698.5 feet (212.91 m) below sea level. According to Israel National News, the lake now stands at 3.3 inches (8.4 cm) above the lower red line—the level where pumping water faces legal restrictions—and 144.7 feet (44.1 m) below the upper red line, which is the Sea of Galilee’s fullest level.

“After five years of drought we have finally had a relatively good year, one that is even slightly above the average in terms of the water sources,” Uri Schor, spokesman for the Water Authority, told Israel National News. “If we take the Kinneret [Sea of Galilee], for example, we see that it has risen six centimeters [2.4 in] as a result of the rainfall from yesterday until this morning. We’re exactly eight and a half centimeters [3.3 in] above the lower red line.”

“Since the beginning of the season we’ve seen a rise of 72.5 centimeters [28.5 in],” Schor continued. “This is a fantastic rise. The average winter rise of the Kinneret level is about 65 centimeters [25.6 in], so we are above average.”

Schor added that more good news is in store, as the Sea of Galilee is expected to continue to rise. “The rain now in the north and also over the weekend will add many more centimeters to the Kinneret, which is good.”

The abundance of this season’s rain comes as a welcome and rather unexpected blessing. In August last year, the Water Authority offered a dour prediction for precipitation during the coming winter months. The Promised Land seemed destined for a sixth year of insufficient rain and with the Sea of Galilee drying up rapidly and approaching its black line (the level that marks a dangerously high concentration of salt and algae blooms, which makes the water unfit for consumption and can do permanent damage to the water quality, flora and fauna), Israel was concerned over a looming ecological disaster.

The past few months of abundant rain has, however, waylaid these fears. “Most of the reservoirs in the north are completely filled,” Schor told Israel National News. “This is one of the factors that has contributed to the Kinneret’s rise. The soil is saturated and the rain flows down to the Kinneret. The strong flows will continue to give their water to nature and the Kinneret. There is still the entire month of March in which we pray there will be a lot more rain.”

Bridges for Peace joins Schor and the many others praying for showers of blessing to continue pouring out over the Promised Land. “For the lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the lord; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (Isa. 51:3).

Posted on March 1, 2019

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 1, 2019)

Photo Credit: Grauesel/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia