Study: Jordan River could run dry

Monday, May 03, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff  

Despite relatively healthy rainfall this winter, Israel is still facing serious water problems as the summer months approach.

The most pressing issue, according to EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), is the possibility that the Jordan River could run dry in the coming year.

An FoEME study revealed that huge sections of the lower Jordan River, the portion that runs from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, could become dry river bed unless drastic action is taken.

Some 98 percent of the Jordan River's flow is diverted for public use by Israel, Jordan and Syria before it ever has a chance to reach the Dead Sea. Much of the remaining 2 percent is sewage, with all three countries plus the Palestinian Authority dumping their waste in the once mighty river.

In response to the growing sewage problem, Israel and Jordan are set to construct two sewage treatment plants. The FoEME study praised that effort, but noted that by removing much of the remaining 2 percent of the Jordan's flow in order to treat it, the river will be left with virtually no water.

As a result of the Jordan's decline, the Dead Sea has also been shrinking at a worrying rate over the past couple decades. Israel is considering a plan to dig a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea in order to replenish the latter.

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