January: Record-Low Water Levels
Figures detailing Israel's water levels show that January was an extremely arid month, with water readings in certain areas at the lowest ever since the meteorological services began keeping records 88 years ago.
The Kinneret Lake's level was at 25% less than average for the month of January. Meanwhile the western Galilee was 20% below average, the coastal basin 10% below, and the Yarkon-Taninim basin received nearly no precipitation at all.
In the national scale, the amount of precipitation from last September through January was only 64% the annual average for the same period.
Israel has been suffering from drought for several years.
While a strong winter storm brought with it large quantities of rain last December, even leading to concerns that the Kinneret might have too much water, the temporary downpour evidently was not enough to turn back the general dry trend. Indeed, a similar temporary increase in water-levels occurred in December 2011 as well.
This January the Kinneret rose merely 11 centimeters (4.3 inches), bringing the total to 211 meters (693 feet) by the end of the month. The Lake was found to contain 18 cubic meters (18,000 liters) in January, making it the second lowest amount for that month since records began. The lowest record was in 2009.
The Dead Sea dropped 8 centimeters (3 inches) in January, whereas last year in the same month it rose 3 centimeters (1.2 inches).
Last December a water-sharing initiative was signed between Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan. The project proposes a new desalination plant at Aqaba to link the Red and Dead Seas and the Kinneret.