Dead Sea evaporation accelerating

Monday, September 07, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Data released by Israel's Hydrological Service on Sunday revealed that the Dead Sea is evaporating faster each year.

The water level of the Dead Sea has dropped by about four feet (1.29 meters) every years for the past few years. Prior to that, it was dropping by just a little over three feet (1.016 meters) every year.

The primary reason for the accelerated evaporation is the increased use of fresh water from the Jordan River by both Israel and Jordan. The Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, but very little of its water ever reaches the salty lake.

Israel has been aware of the problem and of the potential environmental repercussions for years. Together with other neighboring governments, Israel has commissioned the World Bank to test the feasibility of digging a canal that would connect the Dead Sea to the Red Sea and provide the former with a constant source of new water.

Environmental groups fear the canal could be a bigger threat to the environment than the Dead Sea drying up, and have convinced the World Bank to also look at several alternatives. None of the feasibility tests are scheduled to be done before March 2011.

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