Man immerses himself in the Kinneret
Man immerses himself in the KinneretIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Water Authority is hopeful regarding the precipitation this winter, saying the Kinneret is set to break a record of almost 20 years, based on precipitation through December, Hebrew daily Ma’ariv reported.

“This is clearly a much better start [to the winter] than we were expecting,” said Dr. Amir Givati, the head of the Surface Water and Hydrometeorology Department at the Israel Water Authority. “We expected it to be good, but not this good.”

Givati said that there is already 40 or 50 percent more rain in the North than is usual for this time of year, as is evident in the country’s flowing streams and brooks.

“To see the Jordan River flowing at this time of year – that’s a phenomenon that takes place once every 20 years,” he told Ma’ariv.

“Streams like Ayun and Sa’ar usually begin to run only in the spring, but this year we’re already seeing them gushing,” he said. “During the last rainy Saturday there were flows of a magnitude [for December] that haven’t been recorded since 1994, and that’s before Saturday, which is also expected to be rainy.”

Since October, the Kinneret’s level has risen 16 centimeters more, settling at 212.27 meters below sea level.

Water Authority calculations predict that the Kinneret's water level will reach minus 210.80 meters below sea level by the end of the season, assuming average precipitation, just two meters below the lake's upper red line.

The “upper red line,” 208.9 meters below sea level, refers to the level at which the Degania Dam is opened to allow an increased flow into the Jordan and prevent the lake from flooding surrounding cities.