What is the State of the Dead Sea?

Your trip to Israel wouldn’t be complete without visiting the lowest point on earth: the Dead Sea. It remains to be a fascinating and unique tourist destination, whether you go here for an LDS vacation or a solo adventure.

In 2017, 49 percent of the 3.6 million tourists who visited Israel went to the Dead Sea. But why does the hypersaline lake attract that many people?

Home to Many Healing Properties

Located in the Jordan Rift Valley and bordered by Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea gained popularity for its extremely salty waters. You can float effortlessly here, and the mineral-rich mud will provide numerous health benefits. The minerals present in the Dead Sea include magnesium, sodium, and potassium.

People use Dead Sea mud to alleviate certain conditions, such as:

  • Psoriasis
  • Skin impurities
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic back pain
  • Acne

People, from different corners of the world, travel to the Dead Sea to experience these incredible benefits. As tourism increases, however, people have to face the fact that the beautiful lake is dying.

A Declining Natural Wonder

A National Geographic story says the Dead Sea is receding at a rate of four feet per year, citing information from Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry (EPM). The lake’s 30-mile length is now half of what it was a century ago.

Over the past 15 years, the Dead Sea has also accumulated over 1,000 sinkholes that have swallowed a portion of the road, several buildings, and date palm fields. As the lake recedes, the freshwater aquifers along its perimeter also recede, which diffuse into salt deposits beneath the shoreline surface. The water will slowly dissolve these deposits until the earth above collapses unexpectedly.

The drying out of the Dead Sea is an ecological problem, said Galit Cohen, a senior director with Israel’s EPM, in an interview with National Geographic. The country should cooperate with other nations connected with the lake, like Jordan, to reverse the damage.

Environmentalists emphasize climate change doesn’t dry out the Dead Sea as opposed to the government’s claims. The problem is mostly due to government-licensed exploitation of natural resources. Both Israel and Jordan governments, however, are developing plans to save the salt lake.

Saving the Dead Sea

The government of Israel is willing to work with Jordan to save the Dead Sea. The two countries plan to fill the lake with water from the Red Sea. The World Bank, however, calls the plan “ambitious and controversial.”

In the first phase of the plan, about 300 million cubic meters of seawater would be transferred from the Red Sea per year. For the subsequent phases, it will increase up to two billion cubic meters. But environmentalists say the introduction of Red Sea water, which has living organisms, could disrupt the lake’s salinity and evaporation. This may lead to an unbalanced ecosystem.

Analysts argue the project is not enough because it will only solve the water scarcity problem. Instead, officials should focus on having new policies and business strategies as well as finding new ways to deploy technology.

The Dead Sea is one of the most important natural resources in the world. Losing it means losing access to its incredible health benefits, and tourism will decline. So when you visit the Dead Sea, be mindful of your impact as you explore this precious resource and beloved destination.

Meta Title: Why is the Government Seeking to Save the Dead Sea?

Meta Description: The Dead Sea is receding due to human activities, causing environmental issues. As visitors continue to come, the government makes plans to save the lake.

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