Death now has a new meaning for the unique body of water that is located in between Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. The Dead Sea is filled with so much salt that no living creature can survive in its waters. Its shore is the lowest out of all the bodies of water around the world. Today, any and all of the fresh water that flows into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River now instantly becomes lethal. With the Jordan River currently bringing in 50 cubic feet of water every year (2% of the 1.3 billion cubic feet that used to enter the Dead Sea), the water level has now reached the point where it looks like a “puny creek that draws snarls from disappointed tourists”.
What has caused such a dramatic change in this body of water that has been admired for years? For one, there has been a significant amount of fertilizer potash taken by the Israeli company, Dead Sea Works, from the seawater into evaporation ponds. These evaporation ponds were at one time the location of the sea’s southern basin. Some of the water is returned, but with a similar operation being conducted on the Jordanian side, the net loss is devastating. All of this combined with years of utilizing the Jordan River for agriculture has led Dead Sea to vanish.
At this point there are a few options for bringing the Dead Sea back to life, but none of them are going to be executed without a challenge. One option is to supply water to the Dead Sea by piping it in from the Red Sea. The cost of doing this is close to $17 billion and risking the ecological balance that currently exists in the Dead Sea. The other option is to revive its original supplier, the Jordan River. This river is a religious symbol to half of the people on the planet, but the only it can be be revived is with the cooperation of all of the countries it runs through, two of which that are currently at war with each other. We can only hope that all parties involved in the matter will be able to work together for the greater good.
Written by: Eden Ketema
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