Sitting against a backdrop of bare mountains, the Sea of Galilee shrinks to a lowest level in 17 years. This is the site where Lord Jesus Christ performed healing miracles and walked on water. This shrinking poses danger of water shortage for Biblical towns like Nazareth and Cana. Israelis call it Kinneret or Kinnereth, also referred to as Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias. Situated 200m below the sea level Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake in the world.
The water level in the Sea of Galilee fell in November to an all-time low level. Hydrologists have warned that the Israel’s only freshwater lake has receded to its lowest point in 17 years. In October fell 19 centimeters and has continued to recede this month also.
At the end of last month, the water level was 162 centimeters (5 feet 4 inches) below the “red line” already, Water Authority’s Hydrological Service said. Despite the fact that rainfall was more than average in the month of October, but the rain did not do much to elevate the water level. In October, the inflow of the water into the lake was 20 million cubic meters; which less than the amount of water that evaporated.
As the water level falls, the lake’s salinity has increased to a level highest so far in 50 years. Change in salinity would directly impact the fish stock in the lake, thus affecting the fishermen. In the face of looming water crisis, the Israeli authorities are rallying to stop the water level of Sea of Galilee from nose diving below the point where ecological damage to the lake might become irreversible.
In June, this year, the Israeli cabinet gave a green signal to building two new desalination plants. Israel gets 70 percent of its drinking water by desalination. Nonetheless, the current drought is posing a threat to not only Sea of Galilee but to the downstream of Jordan River and the Dead Sea and the major pilgrimage sites.