TEL AVIV (Aug. 2)
Israel faces a severe water shortage next month if the level of Lake Kinneret continues to drop at its present rate of just over a half-inch a day.
The level Wednesday was 699.9 feet below sea level, and experts predict it will fall another 1.1 feet by mid-September, well before the rainy season starts.
When the level reaches 701.2 feet below sea level, the Mekorot water company is required to cease pumping from Israel’s largest natural reservoir.
The harp-shaped fresh-water lake, also known as the Sea of Galilee, provides a quarter of Israel’s domestic, agricultural and industrial water needs.
It is the second-lowest spot on the globe, the first being the Dead Sea, which is over 1,000 feet below sea level.
If Lake Kinneret is taken out of the national water system before the winter rains, the country would have to rely on the water table in the coastal plain, which is itself at a dangerously low level.