Lake Kinneret – Sea of Galilee
Lake Kinneret, the only natural freshwater lake in Israel is located in the northern part of the Dead Sea rift in the Afro-Syrian rift valley. The drainage basin of the lake covers an area of 2,700 square kilometers and includes the western slopes of the Hermon Mountain, the southeastern areas of the Lebanese mountains, the eastern Galilee, Golan Heights and the Hula valley. Water level of Lake Kinneret varies between 209 and 215 m below
sea level. At the highest water level the lake surface area is 168 square kilometers, the maximal water depth is 46 m and the lake volume is 4,150 million cubic meters (MCM). The average depth of the lake is 25 m.
Lake Kinneret receives most of its water from the northern Jordan River. The average annual water inflow to Lake Kinneret is 800 MCM. About the same quantity leaves the lake annually: through evaporation (280 MCM), via the National Water Carrier (370 MCM) for water supply throughout Israel, and overflow (80 MCM) into the southern Jordan River through the Degania dam. Additionally about 90 MCM/Y are pumped for local consumption around the lake and allocated to the Kingdom of Jordan as part of the 1994 Israel-Jordanian Peace Accords. Due to seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and in the annual water consumption from Lake Kinneret, the -208.30 and -214.70 m over the last four decades. These changes in water level affected the water storage capacity ( 20% variation) and the lake surface area (6% variation)
Lake Kinneret is a major water source for Israel. Since the inauguration of the National Water Carrier in 1965, Lake Kinneret has provided more than quarter of the country's water demand. Initially, water from Lake Kinneret was provided mainly for agriculture, but gradually increasing amounts were provided for municipal and industrial needs. In recent years Lake Kinneret provided over 50% of the country's domestic water demand of Israel.
As well as being a major source for Israel’s water requirements, Lake Kinneret is an increasingly important center for tourism and recreation and, as in Biblical times, still supports a commercial fishery. Safeguarding the stability of the lake ecosystem to assure a long-term continuous supply of high quality water is a major national interest. This principle of sustainability dictates the operation of the lake and its drainage basin. The Kinneret Limnological Laboratory (KLL) was established in 1968 to provide scientific input for rational and effectivelake management.
This section of the web site gives information on selected research projects of the KLL and articles, technical reports and reviews about the Kinneret by KLL scientists.