Remote Sensing Lab

Expansion of the Sea of Galilee due to water level increase (2018-2020) detected by the VENµS satellite.

Images obtained by VENµS, looks to the shorelines of the Sea of Galilee in September 2018 and April 2020.
At the beginning of winter 2018-19, the water level of the Sea of Galilee was the 214.55 meters below sea level, 21 cm above what is defined as a ‘Black Line’. This height was the lowest ever measured. Below this level, operational problems, related to pumping water from the lake to the National Water Carrier, are expected to occur. Low water level accelerates the development of toxin cyanobacteria.
On the 20 April 2020, the level of the Sea of Galilee was the -208.94 m. 14 cm below the ‘Upper Red Line’. This height is the maximum level to avoid floods along the shores and damage to engineering plants. Therefore, when water reaches this level, there is a recommendation to open the Degania Dam for releasing water to the southern Jordan River.
The added water areas mainly observed in the Ginosar Valley on the north-west side and in the Majrase – Betiha (Bethsaida) Valley on the north-north-east of the lake. Also, the small island, east of the lake’s outlet, was flooded and disappeared.
The rise of the water level during the last two winters has helped the ecological stability and improved the quality of the water. Water salinity dropped. The natural algae (Peridinium) bloomed, while the toxin cyanobacteria disappeared.
Images were processed in the VENµS Scientific Center, the Remote Sensing Laboratory, Desert Research Institutes, Ben Gurion University.