Let the Dead Sea Live

The water level in the Dead Sea is dropping nearly 4 feet (1.2 meters) per year. Israel is campaigning to have the Dead Sea – the earth’s lowest point and repository of precious minerals – named one of the natural wonders of the world. And at the same time, it is in a race to stabilize what it deems “The world’s largest natural spa” so hotels on its southern end are not swamped and tourists may continue to bask and float in the lake’s therapeutic waters.

Alon Tal an Israeli researcher says that:

“In five to 10 years, (the water) would flood the hotel lobbies, no question.”

The Dead Sea is divided into a southern and northern basin, located at different elevations, largely disconnected and miles (kilometers) apart. This means the rising waters of the southern basin cannot pour into the shrinking basin in the north.

Heavy industrialization is the cause of the waters on the southern basin to rise. A few chemical companies have built evaporation pools there to extract lucrative minerals. Tons and tons of salt are left annually on the floor of these pools, causing the water to rise 8 inches (20 centimeters) per year.

Israel’s tourism and environmental protection ministers are endorsing Tal’s proposal: An intricate $2 billion plan to chip off the salt buildup on the part of the lake which is rising and send it by conveyor belt to the northern end which is shrinking.

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