World Bank Recommends Better Red Sea Than Dead Sea

B. McPherson

The Dead Sea may be a memory by 2050
The World Bank has given its seal of approval to a scheme to transport Red Sea Water via pipeline to the Dead Sea. At a cost of approximately $10 billion, the scheme would theoretically save the dying Dead Sea from obliteration.

The Dead Sea is caught in the Great Rift Valley of Israel. It is formed in a depression 414 metres below sea level. The main source of water for this salty inland sea is the River Jordan. But in this very dry area of the Middle East, fresh water is at a premium and the countries of Syria, Israel and Jordan remove most of the water for drinking, industry and agriculture. Raw sewage makes up a large part of the river’s flow now. At the same time, the hot climate encourages evaporation, the result is the sea is drying up.

In Biblical times fish were caught in the lake, but due to the increasing salinity only small isopods can now live there. The Dead Sea is a prime tourist attraction for its unique properties.

The scheme, called the Red Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project would be a cooperative effort of Israel and Jordan to lay a pipeline about a hundred miles to the Red Sea where large amount of water would be pumped to the dying lake.

Friends of the Earth Middle East has something to say about the plan. That environmental group has pointed out numerous short comings in the environmental impact work. Social questions also are not addressed.

They conclude that until an unbiased study is conducted that looks at all aspects of what is proposed start on the pipeline is irresponsible and likely to end with massive damage to the Red Sea ecosystem.

Plans to commence development of a Red Sea - Dead Sea water conveyance before the potentially serious social and environmental impacts of such an action are understood, not only render the World Bank's study meaningless, but are also likely to cause untold environmental destruction. Friends of the Earth

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