Dead Sea evaporation accelerating

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

The evaporation of the Dead Sea in southern Israel has been a problem for decades, though in recent years the disappearance of the mineral-rich body of water has accelerated at a truly worrying rate.

Israel’s Hydrological Institute reported on Tuesday that last month alone, the level of the Dead Sea dropped by a full six inches. That rate of evaporation means the Dead Sea is shrinking by four feet every year.

The problem has been exacerbated by increasing reliance by both Israel and Jordan on the water sources that feed the Dead Sea for domestic use. Most of the water that runs down the Golan Heights and into the Sea of Galilee is siphoned off for drinking water and agricultural use before it ever even reaches the Jordan River, which runs into the Dead Sea.

Possible solutions to the problem include a greater reliance on desalination plants, several of which Israel is currently building on its Mediterranean coast, and a proposal championed by Israeli President Shimon Peres to dig a canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

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