Reaching the Red Line

In Israel, we are obsessed with many things, including water. We live, on average, eight months a year with no rainfall and so, when Israelis greet each other in the winter months, when rain does make an appearance, with the common phrase, “It’s miserable out, thank God.”

The obsession includes constantly watching the water level of the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret). We watch it go up in the winter, track a slight increase as the snow melts off the Hermon and flows down into the sea. And then we watch in late Spring and Summer as the sea begins to drop.

Years ago, when we reached the “red line” – many Israelis found sad humor in the fact that rather than limit pumping, the government decided to declare a new red line. And there’s the black line, which is the level below where we cannot even pump.

A few weeks ago, a water line on our block was hit and so everyone passed that point had no water. My eight-year-old daughter turned on the taps and nothing came out. In a panicked voice, she said, “What, we got to the red line?”

Well, no, we hadn’t arrived at the red line and within a few hours, we were back among the watered of the world.

And now today, while we still have water flowing through our pipes, we have indeed reached the red line…

According to Israel National News:

The water level of the Kinneret reached a record low of 213 meters below sea level Monday, its lowest level since 2001 when the level recorded was 214.87 below sea level.

While the measurement in 2001 was taken at the end of the summer, the current measurement was taken at the beginning of the season leaving room for the possibility that the water level could drop even further by summer’s end. In Israel, there is no rain during the summer months.

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