Sea of Galilee’s salt content is rising, may impact water supply and farming

Sea of Galilee

By Mark Ellis

Reduced rain and water flows in northern Israel have caused salt levels in the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) to escalate, according to a report by Ynetnews.

The changes have been manifesting over the last few decades.

The average amount of available water in the Sea of Galilee is 320 million cubic liters per year. In the 1970s the average was 480 million cubic liters per year, according to Ynet.

In the last few years, Israel has increased their use of desalinated water, which has reduced the demand for water pumped from the lake.

But the rise in the water’s salinity may have deleterious environmental effects. Cyanobacteria, a microscopic algae on the surface of the lake, could increase and impair the quality of the drinking water, and could also make the water unusable for agriculture, according to Ynet.

The Water Authority is considering measures to slow the hazardous trend. Their plans will be revealed at the Annual Conference for Science and Environment next week.

“Today, the level of chloride in the Kinneret is 280 chloride milligrams per liter, and we already know that in the fall we’ll be nearing 300 chloride milligrams per liter,” Dr. Doron Merkel, head of the Water Authority, told Ynet.

In the US, the standard calls for a maximum of 250 chloride milligrams per liter.

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