Haaretz: Dead Sea is Evaporating Faster

Global warming comes to Israel.

I'd keep a close eye on this alarming story.
Dead Sea is alarmingly drying up, dropped 10 centimeters in May
By Zafrir Rinat

The Dead Sea is drying up at an increasingly rapid pace, with the water level dropping by 10 centimeters last month and eight the month before, according to Mishmar Hamiflas, a group of area residents fighting for the Dead Sea's right to life.

The lowest place on earth is now 421.21 meters below sea level.

Mishmar Hamiflas officials, who say their data come from the Hydrological Service of Israel, argue that the dipping water level shows that water consumption in the Dead Sea basin is increasing.

The water level began going down  causing the sea to recede  in the wake of increased use of other water sources, including the Jordan River and its tributaries, along with desert-area streams and groundwater flowing toward the Dead Sea. Other factors contributing to the decline include the Dead Sea factories on the Israeli and Jordanian sides, which dried up some of the water for industrial purposes.

The receding sea level has damaged hotels built when the water level was higher, caused the development of underground swallow holes, and led sweetwater to enter the sea, melting underground salt blocks and ultimately causing collapse. Scientists say a continued drop in the water level will significantly shrink the Dead Sea but will not cause it to dry up altogether, because the proportion of salt will rise when the water is particularly low, decreasing the amount of water that evaporates.

Dead Sea-area communities and environmental organizations oppose a plan being advanced by the Israeli and Jordanian governments to build a canal that would bring water from the Gulf of Eilat to the Dead Sea, fearing that there would be negative ramifications to changing the composition of the Dead Sea water. They say the water economy must be changed in Israel and Jordan by making agriculture more efficient and increasing desalination, in a bid to revive the Jordan River and resurrect the Dead Sea.

1 comment:

John D. Enright said...

The Rabbi says "Global warming comes to Israel.
I'd keep a close eye on this alarming story."

Hate to burst your bubble, but "global warming" has nothing to do with this problem. In The Dying of the Dead Sea, an October, 2005 article in the Smithsonian Magazine, the reason is outlined as follows:
Until the 1950s, the flow of fresh water equaled the rate of evaporation, and Dead Sea water levels held steady. Then in the 1960s, Israel built an enormous pumping station on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, diverting water from the upper Jordan, the Dead Sea’s prime source, into a pipeline system that supplies water throughout the country. To make matters worse, in the 1970s Jordan and Syria began diverting the Yarmouk, the lower Jordan River’s main tributary."