BAR 34:01, Jan/Feb 2008
Saving the Dead Sea—Red, Med or the Jordan River?
The Dead Sea is falling about 3 feet per year. Wide swaths of beach and plant growth occupy what used to be filled with Dead Sea brine. Hotels and spas have seemingly retreated from the shores that once provided nearby access to guests wanting to float in the sea or smear themselves with its therapeutic mud.
The surface of the Dead Sea now stands at 1,380 feet below sea level. While fluctuations from natural causes have been known over millennia, today’s rapid fall is largely the result of human intervention, as Syria, Jordan and Israel have siphoned off for domestic and agricultural use much of the natural replenishment of water that used to flow into the Jordan River and from there into the Dead Sea. Tina Niemi gives the “good” news: The fall of the Dead Sea will probably bottom out in about 100 years as evaporation from the highly concentrated brine—the only way water leaves the Dead Sea—will have stopped.