How can we best Save the Dead Sea?

This is a Man-made Environmental Problem that May Have a Man-Made Solution

The demise of the Dead Sea presents a unique opportunity for regional cooperation between Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians. Over the last 40 years the Dead Sea has lost a third of its surface area and it continues to drop in depth by over a meter on average every year. This is a man-made problem due mostly to upstream water diversion. It is important to note that Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian government representatives have identified the issue of “Saving the Dead Sea” as a national priority.

Based on government and public opinion it is now clear that an opportunity for trilateral cooperation presently exists. In order to advance this momentum, cooperation should allow for Palestinian beneficiaries of the Water & Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development. As an emerging economy, Palestinians must secure their viability with (1) water for human consumption and irrigation, (2) an adequate electrical power supply, and (3) the necessary infrastructure to protect the environment. No national entity can survive without these elements.

Additionally, the means to raise the Dead Sea water level, including rehabilitation of the Jordan River, must be considered along with the issues of tourism, cultural heritage site preservation and the providing water and electricity for households, industry and agriculture.

Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project proposes to Save the Dead Sea and to fulfill the critical needs of water & renewable energy for Palestinian sustainable development. This concept is based on current research findings accepted by the governments of Israel, Jordan and Palestinian Authority, that:

   1. Clarifies the environmental, economic and social implications of the Dead Sea,

   2. Recommends the necessary measures to stabilize development processes, and

   3. Prioritizes the steps to harness the potential of the region.

Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project has taken into consideration the possible development scenarios:

   1. Default - continuation of lowering of the Dead Seal level:  Just do nothing

   2. Conservation of freshwater source: Reduce water diversion of the Jordan River

   3. Peace Canal (Red sea to Dead sea): Promote real estate development

   4. Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project  Sustainable Development believes the Palestinian Authority can benefit best from option 4: Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project. This would provide sustainable economic development and water & power necessary for Palestinian viability and security. uses appropriate green technologies to produce renewable energy and water resources.

1.  The Problem

   1. Protecting the shrinking Dead Sea without damaging the ecosystem.

   2. Increasing rate of deterioration: 80% of decline has occurred since 1970’s.

   3. Dilemma of demand: Decline is caused primarily by diversion for potable water and agricultural demand of the riparian parties.

   4. Need for joint large-scale solution: Small-scale local measures will not preserve the Dead Sea and provide for future water and energy demands.

   5. International cooperation is required to build hydropower and desalination plants.

2.  Recommended Solutions

   1. An economically viable Med–Dead Sea Project alignment has been identified.

   2. The Med–Dead Sea gravity flow pipeline conduit provides enough water for desalination for all Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis.

   3. The Med–Dead Sea water pipeline provides enough affordable water to drive hydroelectric power plants for all three parties.


3. Concept of Water & Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development can:

   1. Assure future environmental, social and economic stability of the region;

   2. Provide water and power for Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians on demand.

   3. Provide economic development and environmental conservation support to public and private interests in the region, with focus on stabilizing a Palestinian state.

   4. Improve costs and benefits to the local population and to industry, agriculture and tourism versus the other scenarios.

   5. Evaluate impacts of the influx of Med Sea water on the parameters of the Dead Sea.

The Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project will use ecological engineering principles and technologies not available to planners in past decades. The program provides economic development opportunities for Palestinians in cooperation with Israelis.

4.  The Consequences of Inaction

   1. The Dead Sea Basin is in immediate jeopardy

   2. Loss of the historically and culturally significant Dead Sea

   3. Ecological imbalance of hydrologic systems, ecosystems and land quality

   4. Loss of tourism and economic development opportunities

   5. Loss of social development in the Dead Sea Basin

5.   Mutual Benefits of the Med-Dead Project

   1. The Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project water and renewable energy for sustainable development programs can save the Dead Sea and support rehabilitation of the Jordan River.

   2. The Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project facilitates large-scale water desalination and power production.

   3. Stronger Palestinian Economy: agro-industry, affordable water and electricity.

   4. Regional trans-boundary solutions to water supply problems.

   5. Global survival tool for cooperation and sustainable development.

   6. Exploits unique free-flow gravity, renewable energy source to generate hydropower and desalinated water for the PA, as well as Jordan and Israel equally.

   7. Diffusion of future conflicts through generation of new water sources will eliminate chronic disputes in a water-starved region.

6.   Costs and Financing

   1. A Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project Feasibility Study can quantify economic development benefits to the Palestinians, yet it is understood that peace and security benefits to both Israelis and Palestinians are possible from a more stable supply of water and electrical power.

            a. Scientific team – interdisciplinary geological and limnological modeling

            b. Economic team – implications for economic development

            c. Eco-environmental team – implications for natural resources

            d. Legal and administration team – public responsibility and liability

   2. International finance institutions have mechanisms to support this Mediterranean-Dead Sea Project.

   3. Costs and risk can be alleviated through a public-private partnership.


Audrey Beckett, President

Center for Environmental Diplomacy (CED)



Desalination Plant