The Dead Sea is shrinking at an even faster rate than ever before and could become just a tiny pool by 2050.
Researchers believe that, thanks to several reasons but the main being increasing temperatures, the Dead Sea could be the size of a pool by the middle of this century. After experiencing a drought which has been the worst it has seen for 900 years, scientists discover that the Dead Sea, which is currently 605 square kilometres, is receding by as much as 1.5 metres per year. Experts have described is as an “environmental disaster in slow motion” and an expanding population on the outskirts of the Dead Sea is exacerbating the problem.
This is because there is more competition for water resources and factories are mining minerals from the Dead Sea, by evaporating small parts of it.
The River Jordan – which according to the Bible is where Jesus was baptised – once replenished the Dead Sea but there is now only a trickle of water going into the salt lake, thanks to climate change.
Dr Ofir Katz, an ecologist at the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, said: “It’s a lesson to everyone: don’t mess with nature because nature will always win and we will always lose.
“If we keep taking fresh water from nature from the Sea of Galilee, or from the Euphrates for example, or the Nile, we will eventually ruin the local environment.
“We need to take care of nature or else we all sink with it.”
Environmentalist Gidon Bromberg from Eco Peace added: “The demise of the Dead Sea is a reflection of the unsustainability of our water resources region-wide.
“The demise of the Dead Sea reflects competition over scarce water resources between Israel, Jordan and Syria to the north.
“And the industry on the Israeli and Jordanian side seeking to exploit the minerals of the Dead Sea.
“Manufacture more water in the Mediterranean, produce renewable energy in the desert areas and create healthy interdependencies amongst us Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians first.
“Or we going to see potentially more conflict rising out of these increasingly scarce water resources.”