If until recently it was necessary to sail or swim in order to reach the island opposite the Ma’agan beach on the Sea of Galilee, as of this week, you can just walk there without getting wet – almost, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Tuesday night.
The Kinneret water level has reached such a low point, that the island has expanded to merge with the opposite shore, creating a kind of lagoon.
This Kinneret island was rediscovered two years ago. Since then, as the water level has been decreasing, the island has been growing. A year ago, the island was already getting ominously close the beach, and this week, after the Kinneret eater level had lost more than 4.5 feet in two years, it’s difficult to tell apart the island and the shoreline.
For four years now, water has not been pumped from the Kinneret to Israel’s National Water Carrier, inaugurated in 1964, which was used to remove 1.7 million cubic meters of Kinneret water in a day, with 80% of its water being allocated to agriculture and 20% for drinking water – with 50 million cubic meters of water diverted annually to Jordan
Nowadays, the streams running from the north no longer provide water to the Kinneret, which loses one centimeter (0.4 inch) of water a day to evaporation.
So the island is no longer famous island and is now just another bay along the national lake.
As of this week, 17.5 feet of water are needed to reach the height of the so-called “full Kinneret.”
Although in 2001 the level of the Kinneret was about 8 inches lower, today the situation is more severe because, like the Kinneret, the rest of the natural water reservoirs above and below Israel’s water table surface are also dwindling.
If for the desalination of water, Israelis would probably not have drinking water today. It is clear to everyone that plans should be implemented to preserve the water sources while simultaneously increasing the national desalination enterprise.
The Israeli government recently presented a plan to transfer desalinated water to the north, but such a move is expected to take a few years to complete. Much depends on the kind of winter Israel will have this year, after a five-year drought. In the meantime, the month of November has recorded an average of 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade in the vicinity of the Kinneret.