CBNNews.com - With Israel in a fourth consecutive winter of below-average rainfall, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer (Labor) presented Cabinet ministers with a countrywide water conservation plan.
Total rainfall is holding at 65 percent of its annual average, with the rainy season more than half over. The Sea of Galilee, the nation's only source of sweet water, and the central mountain region are averaging less than 60 percent.
Last year, Israel received only 55 percent of the average annual rainfall, categorizing it as a year of extreme drought.
At the beginning of January, Israel's national water carrier stopped pumping water from the Sea of Galilee, but the water level rose less than 2.5 inches, while the overall lake is about 1.5 feet above the red line danger level.
Water authorities say even if the region witnessed average rainfall for the rest of the season, the national water system is looking at a very large water deficit.
The country's two desalination plants at Askelon and Palmahim are up and running, while a third plant, under construction in Hadera in the north, should be operational within three years.
The desalinated water supplements the nation's potable water supply.
Ben-Eliezer and Uri Shani, director general of the Water Authority, presented recommendations to the Cabinet, which included a nationwide water conservation plan and limiting agricultural allocations, while compensating farmers for lost revenue.
Source: The Jerusalem Post