10/29/2010 03:30

Lake level set to drop to historic minimum next month… and keep on falling; Water Authority told to prepare emergency plans.

Although showers are expected on Friday, the Water Authority continues to issue dire warnings on the state of Lake Kinneret. After six years of below average rainfall, there are no reserves to fall back on.

As of last week, the Kinneret’s water level was 213.8 meters below sea level. That’s an even five meters from its full capacity and equivalent to a deficit of 825 billion liters of water. But the Kinneret has not been full for many years now.

The water level has entered the Black Zone, according to the Water Authority, meaning it is 80 centimeters below the bottom red line but above the Black Line that signifies catastrophic damage to the natural reservoir. The Black Line was created earlier this decade after the water level dropped below the previous bottom red line and new parameters to guide pumping had to be developed.

The water level is expected to continue to drop throughout the next month, reaching just above the historic minimum set in December 2001, the Water Authority said, unless significant amounts of rain fall.

Last year, the water level began rising at the end of October as the country experienced moderate, though still below average, rainfall compared to the previous five years. However, forecasters fear that the water level will continue to drop through November and even int.o December.

Two years ago, which was the worst year of drought in the past half decade, the water level continued to drop until December 29.

What’s to be done? For now, wait and hope and pray for rain, while the continuing heat waves increase evaporation rates and consumption rates.

The Water Authority has been ordered to prepare an emergency plan to cope with the next two years’ anticipated shortfalls, but has yet to announce any drastic measures such as water rationing or a return of the drought levy.

The vicissitudes of nature are expected to be less traumatic for the country’s water sources beginning in 2013, as six desalination plants are expected to be in operation by then and should produce 600 million cubic meters of water per year.