Dry Weather for the Rainy Season
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel monitors some 25 winter ponds through out Israel. Winter ponds, also known as Seasonal Ponds, are a rare and fragile habitat somewhat unique to Israel. Surface runoff and rain fill these basins during the rainy season creating a seasonal habitat for a host of creatures to breed, including endangered plants, invertebrates and amphibians. Human activity and development have greatly damaged many of Israel's Seasonal Ponds, but SPNI is dedicated to protecting those that remain.
Despite the stormy weather Israel received in December, bringing rain or snow to much of the country, the 2013-2014 winter season has been exceptionally dry. Without more rain, the winter ponds may dry months earlier than usual, with potential to damage wildlife populations.
Lack of rain is effecting all of Israel, raising concerns about lack of water later in the year. Much of Israel's drinking water comes from the Sea of Galilee.
Yedioth Ahronoth compares year over year:
The water level in the Sea of Galilee has not been raised even an inch, Yedioth Ahronoth points out in the caption for this image.
While several years of drought can be common in the region, the threat remains for endangered species that may have difficulties breeding or if the breeding period is cut short. Such a dry season has other implications as well, including for agriculture. The Water Authority asserts that such dry conditions at this time of year are unprecedented in recent history.
While the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel will do what it can to protect the winter ponds, others in Israel may follow more traditional methods, continuing prayers for rain until the Passover holiday.