JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet approved a $30 million plan to deal with the country’s drought problem.
The plan would for the first time pump desalinated water directly into Lake Kinneret, or the Sea of Galilee. The plan also will rehabilitate seven streams in northern Israel.
“Over the years Israel has shown an amazing ability to deal with the water problem, which has caused endless conflicts in our region for thousands of years, also in the new era. But thanks to technology, initiatives and creativity, we have succeeded in overcoming it,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“Usually we pump water from the Kinneret and bring to various parts of the country. Here we are bringing desalinated water to the Kinneret because as we desalinate water on the coast in the water it goes to waste because there is no use for it. Now we are turning the Kinneret into a reservoir for desalinated water,” he added.
The plan also calls for two new desalination plants to be constructed on the coast in the Western Galilee.
The plan is a response to the latest drought, which began five years ago. The Sea of Galilee is currently at 213.46 meters, or 689 feet, below sea level, which brings it to half a meter below the lower red line, a serious danger level.
If it reaches the black line, at 214.87 meters, or 705 feet below sea level, the Sea of Galilee could face irreversible ecological damage.
The streams will be rehabilitated in part by pumping desalinated water into them.