The Dead Sea is again in environmental headlines as a project to remove salt accumulations from the lakes southern portions have passed preliminary readings in Israel’s parliament. The salt removal project would be largely paid for by the Dead Sea Works, with the profits derived from the sale of the extracted minerals to be placed in a special rehabilitation fund. This project comes on the heels of warnings by environmentalists that the hotels located in this portion of the Dead Sea could be flooded by the ironically rising waters .
Salt build up causes water to rise
This salt build up problem is linked to a Jordan Times article stating that the Dead Sea is losing water by the amount of 30 meters a year, with the fear that the lake will dry up entirely by the year 2050.
The article adds that although the construction of a conduit between the Dead and Red Sea is “technically possible” it is full of environmental dangers, much of which could occur during the construction of the conduit itself. Feasibility studies authorized by the World Bank, dealing with the impact of mixing the highly saline Dead Sea waters with that of the less saline Red Sea, have been ongoing for more than two years and are still inconclusive.
These studies have been criticized by groups such as Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME) whose Israel Director, Gideon Bromberg, says that the World Bank study needs more time in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion regarding the construction of the conduit project.
Bromberg’s FOEME non-profit still believes that the best solution for replenishing the waters of the Dead Sea is to bring water through the Lower Jordan River, now nothing more than a sewage canal.
Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have considered the conveyance project as a way to bring much needed water into the Dead sea.
If this project is completed, at a cost of more than 8 billion dollars and in at least a 20 year time frame, the hoped for increase in the lake’s water levels will hopefully bring it up to – 315 below sea level instead of its present – 408 meters.
A series of public consultation meetings will be held in Israel, Jordan and Palestine during 2012. Locations of these meetings, in which the general public will be invited to voice their opinions include Amman, Aqaba, Eilat, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Ramallah. As stated by the World Bank spokesperson:
“The objective of the public consultations is to receive feedback and suggestions from stakeholders on the draft results and preliminary findings of the study program. These comments will then be taken into account in the final reports.”
Read more on Dead Sea issues, including the Jordan River:
Time Running Out for Saving Dead Sea Hotels
Unholy Waters: The Jordan River is Nearly Dead
Despite everything, Dead Sea Still a Popular Tourist Destination
Jordan, Israeli and Palestinian Reps Meet to Jumpstart Controversial Red-Dead Canal