The Kinneret
The KinneretIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The blessing of early winter rains appears to have reduced the drop in the water level of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), but Israel still needs much, much more if it is to recoup its losses over the past decade of drought.

Only 2.358 inches were lost in the lake during the entire month of November, according to Israel's Water Authority. However, last year's heavy rain in the final month of the winter still left Israel with a relatively dry season, one that did not break the official 10-year drought that has wracked the region.

The water level of the lake now stands at 701.049 feet below sea level -- still 13.77 feet below the level at which conditions are considered "normal."

Government officials are continuing the policy of banning irrigation of private and public gardens from December 1 through the end of March, due to the drought that officially began in 2001.

Any individual or corporation that is caught watering a garden during this period could face a fine of up to NIS 1,000 (approx. $267).