After the particularly rainy winter that took Israel by storm this year, there will no longer be a need to artificially raise the water levels of the Kinneret.
By Eli Ashkenazi

The rainy winter Israel has experienced this year has led to a vast rise in the Kinneret’s water levels, prompting the Mekorot Water Company to dismantle an artificial dam it had been using to enable pumps to reach the water.

The Kinneret’s water levels have risen by 2.5 centimeters in just the past 24 hours, and the month of January saw the highest number of rainy days in one month on record in Israel, according figures from the Israel Meteorological Service.
A pipe used to pump water from Lake Kinneret

A pipe used to pump water from Lake Kinneret, near Kibbutz Ha’on.
Photo by: Yaron Kaminsky

Though the Kinneret is still 3.74 meters below its maximum level as of Thursday, the lake’s water levels continues to rise by 2 centimeters daily, and renewed water flow through the streams feeding the Kinneret, as well as meltwater from recent snowfall, are only expected to facilitate this increase.

A clear indication of the Kinneret’s improved condition could be seen on Thursday as Mekorot Water Company employees dismantled an earth dam constructed during the summer of 2008 on the lake’s Jordan River outlet, in order to enable the company’s pumps to reach the lake’s water. Water levels in the Kinneret were so low that Mekorot’s pumps, situated at the Kibbutz Degania dam, could not longer reach the lake’s water.

According to Alon Lev, Mekorot’s Galilee District Manager; an earth dam was constructed below Kibbutz Degania Alef in order to create a new pool of water between this new dam and the Alumot Dam to the south, into which the water from the Kinneret was pumped. Water levels in this “pool” were therefore raised artificially, allowing Mekorot pumps to reach them.

Israel Water Authority Spokesperson Uri Schor stated that he hoped that this “dismantled dam will not be built again.”

“We are hoping for higher [Kinneret] water levels,” said Schor, “and this is facilitated by the public’s efforts in saving water as well as the desalination plants which are getting into full swing. Hopefully this will help us rehabilitate our water sources and operate them differently after years of [working with] water levels below the Kinneret’s red line.”