International community is planning to give life to the rapidly shrinking Dead Sea by feeding seawater from the Red Sea. Dead Sea is land locked and its water source mainly comes from Jordan River in South West Asia that flows north-south into the Dead Sea. Jordan River (click the map below) is 251 kilo metres long. The increase in water demand for drinking, farming and industrial use from Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority has reduced the flow and the Dead Sea is shrinking drastically. World Bank warns that drying up of the Dead Sea would cause environmental calamity in addition to cultural and economic damage.
- Dead Sea has been shrinking at the rate of one metre per year and could dry up within the next 50 years.
- The water level has reduced from 394 metres below sea level in 1960s to 418 metres below sea level in 2006.
- The surface area has shrunk by at least 33 per cent over the last 56 years, roughly from 950 square kilo metres to 637 square kilo metres.
- The average annual inflow has decreased from 1,200 million cubic metres (mcm) of water to around 250 mcm.
- Dead Sea water is ten times more saline than ocean water.
To save the Dead Sea, the Red Sea – Dead Sea Canal (RSDSC) is being planned to supply millions of gallons of seawater to Dead Sea.
- Construction of a 180 kilo metre long canal from the Red Sea at Aqaba/Eilat to the Dead Sea to supply roughly five million tonnes of seawater everyday.
- Subsequent to World Bank setting up a multi-donor trust fund for feasibility study, several countries have contributed $15 million for the project’s feasibility study and environmental assessment.
- French company Coyne et Bellier is currently carrying out the feasibility study of the project and the British firm Environmental Resources Management is undertaking the environmental assessment.
- Project cost is currently assessed to be about £3 billion.
- The flowing water could drive turbines to generate electricity and also provide drinking water through desalination plants to Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories.
- More details about the project is at ‘Israel and Jordan Launch Global Campaign to Save the Dead Sea – August 2002′.
- Information note of July 2007 of the concept, feasibility study, environmental and social assessment is available as pdf document.
- The final decision to proceed with the project will depend on Jordan, Israel and Palestinian leaders.
Here is an interesting video clip on Dead Sea drying/dying.
Posts in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:
Update: July 25
Some 3000 sinkholes appear on the banks of the Dead Sea. View a video clip from Fox News Channel: Disappearing Dead Sea
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