Dead Sea to Be Saved ... by Red Sea?

But Red-Dead plan has environmentalists worried

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 10, 2013 12:36 AM CST | Updated Dec 10, 2013 4:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have put aside their differences in an effort to keep the Dead Sea from going belly-up. The famously salty sea is dropping by more than 3 feet a year as the River Jordan is sucked almost dry by agriculture, and the new water-sharing pact will involve replenishing the sea with water from the Red Sea treated in a desalination plant and sent through a 110-mile pipeline, the BBC reports. The plan will also generate drinking water and hydroelectricity.

But while the $400 million "Red-Dead" project has been hailed as an example of regional cooperation, analysts have a lot of problems with the plan itself, the Guardian reports. Environmentalists warn that the plan—a scaled-back version of one that has been in the works for decades—will only supply around a tenth of the water needed to stabilize the sea and will do little to solve the region's chronic water shortages. Ominously, experiments that mixed water from the two seas resulted in disturbing changes to its chemical composition, causing the growth of algae and bacteria.

The shoreline of the Dead Sea is seen near the town of Ghor Haditha in Jordan.
The shoreline of the Dead Sea is seen near the town of Ghor Haditha in Jordan.   (AP Photo/Nader Daoud)
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