Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Browsing by Author "Davidkin, Marjut"

Sort by: Order: Results:

  • Davidkin, Marjut (2020)
    The Dead Sea is located in the Middle East at the centre of the Syrian-African rift. At about 433 meters below sea level (mbsl), its coastal line is the lowest point on the earth. The Dead Sea’s surface level has declined in the past centuries at an alarming rate, now around 1 meter per year, due mostly to the unsustainable water use of its drainage basin. In the past, the Jordan River supplied the majority of the inflow to the Dead Sea but nowadays the river’s inflow has been reduced substantially. In addition, the mineral industry is pumping water from the southern part of the the Dead Sea, which increases the water level decline. Also the climate in the area is very dry and hot, which makes the evaporation rate high and causes the salt to precipitate. Dead Sea’s salt concentration is about 30%. The recent drop in the water level has exposed salty mud flats and started a sinkhole formation process in the coastline that has negatively affected the area’s infrastructure and economy. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have planned to construct a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea (RSDSC), coordinated by the World Bank. The project would also produce desalinated water locally and would act as ”a symbol of peace” between the parties. Nevertheless, environmental groups have adamantly opposed the RSDSC project. The objective of my thesis was to investigate 1) how the RSDSC project would counter the previous decline of the Dead Sea; 2) the environmental impacts of such a project; 3) why environmental groups are opposed to it; and 4) the environmentalists’ solution to the problem. This study is a qualitative descriptive case study. The material of the study consists of scientific journals, World Bank study reports and the responses to those reports from the environmentalists. The material was analyzed according to the method of content analysis. The study indicated that there are major risks in the RSDSC project in the form of negative environmental impacts to the Dead Sea’s limnology even though it would stabilize the water level and probably also stop the formation of sinkholes. It is estimated that there might be severe algae and micro- biological blooms and gypsum precipitation with ”whitening effect” when a lot of sea water will be mixed with Dead Sea brine. Due to water level rise, flooding might occur, which could contaminate the ground water. The environmentalists’ proposed solution is the rehabilitation of the Jordan River by means of water recycling and production of more desalinated water to the Dead Sea’s drainage basin, which would reduce water intake from natural sources. This plan, too, probably has its negative environmental impacts but the risks seem to be minor when compared to the RSDSC project’s estimated negative impacts.