SAVE  THE  DEAD SEA AND THE JORDAN RIVER

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     To mobilize the public opinion to support the final solution of the problem, the Initiative Group of scientists and specialist that cares about the fate of disappearing water reservoirs, organized an International Movement «To save the Dead Sea, and other disappearing lakes and rivers». This Movement supported by the Dimona Scientific Center of water crisis problems together with Progressive Research Institute in Arad, and with participation of the «Scientists of the South» Association offers a comprehensive solution of the problem:

– stabilize the water level in the Dead Sea and revive the Jordan River at the account of the Mediterranean Sea water. Supply to the Jordan River desalinated water only, and to the Dead Sea also the sea water in the quantity which is safe for its ecological conditions;

– build sewage treatment facility on the Jordan River for the prevention of river pollution and prevention of polluted effluents into the Dead Sea;

– develop, fabricate and install in the Mediterranean sea, off the coast of Israel, floating desalination plants, operating mainly on gas fuel; the same floating plants should be installed in the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea and off the coast of Gaza;

– transport the desalinated water to the most needed areas of the Hаshemite Kingdom of Jordan, Israel, and Palestinian Autonomy in a quantity up to 500 mln m3 per year. It will fully satisfy the potable water needs of the local citizen.

– add the desalinated water received at the floating desalting plants to the Kineret Lake.

     The program is absolutely real and allows for the complete solution of the problem of overcoming the water crisis in the region. For the preliminary business plan total cost should be around $3 billion, of which about $2 billion will address social and environmental problems in the region. “Movement” developed conceptual design of the floating desalination plants using the latest samples of the commercially available desalination equipment. Obtained desalinated water should be, according to our calculations, one of the cheapest in the world. It is proposed: to manufacture two pilot samples of the desalination plants at one of the shipyards (preferably in Russia or Ukraine) and install them at the Red Sea port of Aqaba (Jordan). This first part of the project with an estimated cost of $220 million will have a pay-off period of no more than six years at the account of selling the desalinated water.

     The total cost of the program implementation based upon the preliminary business plan, developed by us should be $3.2 billion (within four years), of which more than $2 billion are directed to the provision of potable water, construction of sewage treatment plants on the river Jordan and modernization of the water infrastructure. It’s a lot, but the program allows you to completely solve the problems of the region in the coming decades and will contribute to the establishment of peace and tranquility here. We are working to cut costs, and expect that we will be able to do it.

     The Program allows for the complete solution of the regional problems at the nearest decades and will contribute to the cause of peace and tranquility in this region. If it will be water it will be no hunger. The unique in the world Dead Sea will be preserved for the future generations, and future generations, undoubtedly, will be grateful to us.

Proposed piping layout, desalination plants and sewage treatment facilities.

1 – Pipe with sea water; 2 –Pipe with desalinized water; 3 – Flow of the desalinized water along the Jordan River; 4 – Dry tunnel (other options may not require tunnels); 5 – Floating desalination plants 6 – Pump for sea water; 7 – Sewage collection facilities; 8 – Cleaning stations; 9 – Lakes with sea water (options); 10 – Pipe with desalinized water for the Sea of Galilee; 11 – Pipe with desalinized water for the Palestinian territories.

How to prevent the development of karst cavities while lowering the Dead Sea

    The level of the Dead Sea is reduced by 1.1 – 1.2 m per year. On a dried-out bottom of the sea, new karst funnels appear almost daily. They create a danger to people and structures located nearby and make the development of tourism activities in the area practically impossible. Unless urgent action is taken, an environmental disaster threatens the Dead Sea. Future generations will not forgive us for this.

    Karst phenomena are known to be associated with the dissolution of natural rock waters. Usually this is a long process, but karst formations in the areas of the former seabed drying out due to falling sea levels are quick to appear. Now there are more than 3,000 karst funnels on the west bank and about 1,000 on the east bank. Note that forty years ago they were practically nonexistent.

    How do dips form on the former bottom of the Dead Sea? Studies have shown that bottom sediments to a depth of 25-50 meters have various sizes of crystalline salt inclusion. While the bottom layer is saturated with the Dead Sea brine, this salt practically does not dissolve. But when the sea recedes, fresh water from storm streams flowing from the shores, groundwater and small, but still occurring, precipitation begins to flow into the exposed bottom layer. Fresh water dissolves inclusions of salt and carries the brine into the sea, partially dissolving or entraining particles of the surrounding sedimentary rocks. In their place there are cavities. When they reach the surface or are close to it, the surface layer does not withstand, and a hole forms. This is a substantially simplified, undoubtedly picture, but it allows us to understand the essence of what is happening.

    The dynamics of the development of karst cavities, the unpredictability of their appearance and the high density of placement on the former bottom of the sea reduce the effectiveness of using traditional methods for their detection and elimination. In addition, there is a danger of movement of people in this area.

    The results of many years of research allow us to conclude that there is no easy solution to the problem. The further development of karst formations could probably be prevented by raising the level of the Dead Sea to the previous values. However, for this it is necessary to add 25-30 billion cubic meters to the Dead Sea. m of water in excess of that necessary to maintain the existing level, which is associated with high costs and irreversible changes in the salt composition of the sea. What to do? But what if you fill in the areas where karst cavities form with the brine of the Dead Sea and constantly maintain a certain layer of water here? The results can be obtained the same as when raising the level of the entire Dead Sea, but the need for water is reduced by several orders of magnitude (Fig. 1.). Of course, you need to constantly replenish this layer. But the entire southern section of the Dead Sea, on the coast of which hotels and factories are located, exists because a brine from the northern part of the sea is continuously pumped into it. Here we are talking about a significantly smaller amount. For the coastal section between Metsada and Ein Gedi, for example, the same pumping station that feeds the southern section of the Dead Sea can be used. It is proposed to build an experimental site here and verify the correctness of the assumption made. It may be sufficient to build only the upper basin with an overflow dam.

Pic. 1. The scheme of the cascade of pools on the former bottom of the sea

1 – soil; 2 – upland (hunting) channel; 3 – conduit from the upland channel (shown conditionally); 4 – highway; 5 – beach; 6 – pools with brine of the Dead Sea; 7 – dams; 8 – the mass of water that should have been added to increase the level of brine to exist in the 60s of the 20th century (shown conditionally); 9 – the sea.

    It should be noted that for the success of any measures to protect the coast from karst formations in problem areas of the Dead Sea, it is advisable to intercept storm flows flowing from the mountains in order to prevent them from being on the coastal highway and exposed sections of the former seabed. For this, the upland (hunting) canal must be dug above the road and adjacent structures and a system of water conduits (preferably closed pipelines) connecting this canal to the sea and used to drain water from it.


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