Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Dead Sea



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Dead Sea

The Dead Sea could completely disappear within the next hundred years: water levels are already falling at a rate of about one and a half meters per year. It is located in the deepest depression of the Earth, generated over millennia due to the evaporation of its waters not compensated by those of the tributaries, which is also the cause of its high salinity.

Currently the water level of the upper (northern) basin is at about 427 m below sea level and the gap continues to increase, as the level continues to fall, also posing the problem of its disappearance in the medium-long term.

Continuing the current situation of imbalance between evaporation and water introduced, the Dead Sea is destined to disappear slowly. In fact, since it is the lowest point of the earth's surface it is also one of the hottest, the consequent evaporation is not compensated by the influx of the waters of the Jordan and other more arid watercourses: starting from the middle of the last century, when Israeli and Jordanian farmers began to use the waters of rivers, especially the Jordan, for agricultural use, the flow of the Jordan was reduced to 10% of its natural flow.

Furthermore, the Jordanian and Israeli potash industries in the southern Dead Sea region exacerbate the drop in the lake level, which has already dropped by about 30 meters.

Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Dead Sea

Various solutions have been studied to raise the level of the lake and, despite the opposition of environmentalists, at the moment the World Bank has made an allocation equivalent to 15 million dollars for the feasibility study of a connection with the Red Sea, baptized Conduct of the Pace, which would channel the water to Aqaba and carry it for about 170-200 kilometers to the southern shores of the Dead Sea, with a great possibility of producing electricity, exploiting the difference in height between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, providing energy, between the another, to a desalination plant that would supply fresh water to Amman, with an expected cost of around 4.5 billion euros.

Its main feature is that the water is remarkably salty due to the strong evaporation and this does not allow life forms except for some types of bacteria, hence the name Dead Sea. As of 2002, its mean salinity gradient was 23% higher than that of the oceans.

Its salinity increases with depth: the surface is the least salty part, diluted by the waters of the Jordan which find it difficult to descend into the lower denser layers: going down to 40 m depth, the salinity becomes 300 g for each kilogram of water, about 8 times that of the oceans; towards a depth of 100 m the salinity increases to 332 g for every kilogram of water, becoming saturated: the salt precipitates and accumulates on the bottom of the lake.

In general, with a density of 1.24 kg / l due to the high salinity, it allows anyone to float effortlessly and, on the other hand, makes swimming difficult, as it emerges too much from the water.