Plan to re­vive the Galilee

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY EL­LIE JA­COBS

AN INI­TIA­TIVE cost­ing $30 mil­lion (£22.4 mil­lion) to cope with fall­ing wa­ter lev­els in the Sea of Galilee has been ap­proved by the Is­raeli cab­i­net.

By 2022 Is­rael will pump the fresh­wa­ter lake with 100 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of de­sali­nated sea­wa­ter an­nu­ally, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of Is­rael’s en­ergy and wa­ter min­istry Yechezkel Lif­shitz said.

The scheme will also re­ha­bil­i­tate seven streams in north­ern Is­rael.

It is a re­sponse to years of drought in the coun­try that, ac­cord­ing to Is­rael’s wa­ter au­thor­ity, saw the lake reach its low­est level in a cen­tury.

The sur­face of Galilee, which is also known as Lake Kin­neret, is cur­rently at 213.46 me­tres (689 feet) below sea level, plac­ing it be­yond the red line that in­di­cates se­ri­ous dan­ger. If it falls fur­ther to the black line level of 214.87 me­tres, it could face per­ma­nent eco­log­i­cal dam­age, JTA re­ported.

A decade ago, the lake was the coun­try’s largest fresh­wa­ter re­serve, pro­vid­ing 400 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres a year.

But fol­low­ing a suc­ces­sion of dry win­ters, its lev­els have shrunk to such a de­gree that only 30-40 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres can be re­trieved.

“Over the years Is­rael has shown an amaz­ing abil­ity to deal with wa­ter [short­ages], which have caused end­less con­flicts in our re­gion for thou­sands of years,” Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said on Sunday.

“But thanks to tech­nol­ogy, ini­tia­tives and cre­ativ­ity, we have suc­ceeded in over­com­ing it.”

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

The Sea of Galilee’s wa­ter lev­els are dan­ger­ously low

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