Gary Diskin - Jul 4, 2011

For years, media reported the Dead Sea is drying out at a massive pace. The latest piece of news may come as a surprise: local hotels are in fact at a risk of flooding.

The Dead Sea, or Salt Sea as the locals say, is Israel’s precious tourist landmark as well as a unique source of precious minerals. Half of all visitors to the country come there to witness the magic of local water and discover its secret, admired for thousands of years.

Many experts have been ringing the alarm bells as water in the northern basin is losing 4 ft of water every year. However, the southern basin – rather surprisingly – is now at a risk of excessive flooding.

For many decades, this salty lake has been used for industrial purposes; lucrative minerals are being extracted by means of evaporation pools and leftover salt is in essence piling up. This means, the water level of the southern basin is gradually rising. The major issue with the changing water level in the southern basin is that “the world’s largest natural spa” and local hotels attract some 200.000 guests every year. According to recent reports, by 2017, the lobbies of these hotels will inevitably be flooded.

The Israeli government is exploring the options and the Dead Sea Works, a mining company which is extracting the minerals from the lake, has already been approached. Many officials believe that as their industrial ‘waste’– which the leftover salt technically is – is their responsibility.

Negotiations are underway; however, it is clear action needs to be taken as soon as possible. If no decision is made soon, there will be no other choice but to completely move the hotels and the resort. Such drastic solution is certainly not ideal considering the importance of Dead Sea tourism for the Israeli economy.

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  1. I hope the government and the Dead Sea Works will reach an agreement soon (from what I know the considered option is to harvest salt from the bottom of the Dead Sea to spot the water near the hotels from rising), and I hope that the fact that the Dead sea is one of the finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign

    Olga (Israel)

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