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Noam Bedein with a Square Salt Diamond taken from a Sinkhole at the Dead Sea
courtesy of Noam Bedein


Patterns emerge from beneath the water of the Dead Sea as the water recedes.
courtesy of Noam Bedein


Photo from a salt cave
courtesy of Noam Bedein


Dead Sea salt formations
photo by Noam Bedein

 
NOAM BEDEIN: A SOLUTION TO SAVE THE DEAD SEA WHICH COULD DISAPPEAR IN 30 YEARS

by Rhonda Spivak, February 17, 2022

 

Noam Bedein, an Israeli photojournalist, international speaker and environment visual arts activist, has  a solution for  how to save the  endangered Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on Earth, whose briny water is quickly vanishing.  Bedein, who has been recognized by CNN/VR, National Geographic and NASA for his Dead Sea educational and activism work since 2016,  gave two webinars sponsored by Bridges for Peace on Feb 2 and 9 about the need to save the Dead Sea, which experts have predicted  faces the real prospect of disappearing entirely by around 2050.

 

 

Bedein stated that if the Dead Sea were to fully dry up, there could be “enormous ecological damage” (i.e. sandstorms).

 

 

Bedein pointed out that the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is connected to the Dead Sea via the Jordan River, and historically water has flowed from north to south along this natural waterway.

 

 

In recent decades however, this natural flow has been interrupted by  development and human consumption of water on the part of both Israel and Jordan . The Israelis have pumped water out of the Sea of Galilee for drinking purposes. Further, as Bedein stated, "Jordan is a very dry country and the Jordan River has become a source of water for the Jordanians,” both “for drinking water and for agriculture.” As a result of this fact, "the Dead Sea has been receding dramatically in the last 20 years," Bedein added.

 

 

According to Bedein, man made interference, which has interrupted the natural replenishment of the Dead Sea, has caused the  water level of the Dead Sea - which is more than 1,300 feet below sea level-to decline "about 5 meters per year."

 

 

Over the past five years, Bedein has been exploring  the Dead Sea by boat, and has been documenting how this breathtaking and enchanting body of water has been shrinking. He advocates restoring the “the historical flow" of water from the Sea of Galilee through the Jordan River and then into the Dead Sea. In short, Bedein is of the view that Israel ought to supply more water to the Sea of Galilee which is in northern Israel and ought to fill it up. It then ought to open up the dams and have the water flow through the Jordan River  to the Dead  Sea, thereby revitalizing the Dead Sea in a natural way.

 

 

“That the most natural solution today,” Bedein pointed out.  Restoring the natural flow of water to the Dead Sea has become the top priority of  the NGO that Bedein has founded, titled the Dead Sea Revival Project.  His organization’s goal is to raise awareness  about both the crisis the Dead Sea faces, as well as the solution to its  revitalization.

 

 

Israel is a global leader in desalination of water, and has five desalination plants that remove the brine from the waters of the  Mediterranean Sea.  Israel has recently inked a United Arab Emirates brokered deal with Jordan, which will see it  build a sixth desalination plant in Northern Israel that will bring more fresh water to the Sea of Galilee as well as provide drinking water to Jordan.  Bringing more fresh water to the Sea of Galilee will help restore the historic flow of water to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.   The revitalization of the Dead Sea is dependent on Jordan “not using the Jordan River as a source of drinking water and water for agriculture,”Bedein emphasizes.
 

 

 

In the  first webinar Bedein showed his audience a square salt diamond, which came out of a sink hole at the Dead Sea. There are over 6000 sink holes on the Western Northern side of the Dead Sea. As a result of these sink holes, Mineral beach at Ein Gedi is now closed, Bedein explained. "Hotels in Jordan [ on the Dead Sea] have problems because of sink holes on the Jordanian side of  the Northern part of the Dead Sea," he stated. 

 

 

Bedein also spoke of an ambitious solution to save the Dead Sea,  called the Dead Sea-Red Sea Canal, which had been on the table for the over 30 years. 

It would have involved building a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, and a  huge desalinization plant pumping fresh water to Jordan (which is one of the 4th driest country on earth) with the remaining briny waste going into the Dead Sea. As Bedein noted, "the World Bank promised $10 billion for this project because they saw it as a symbol of cooperation in the Middle East.”

 

 

However, for a number of reasons including  environmentalist objections,

financing difficulties, bureaucratic issues, and tensions between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, this idea of a joint-pipeline idea has fallen by the wayside. “The project is officially off the table..” Bedein stressed. 
 


Bedein  has concluded that the origins of the Dead Sea water crises are linked to regional water politics, demography, and climate change.

 

Because of draught and climate change, over the next number of years there will be 1.8 billion people who will struggle to get enough drinking water, including many people in the Middle East. Since Israel is a leader in desalination technology, Israel can work with her neighbours to provide know how in this field.
 

In his presentation, Bedein spoke of how he takes visitors to explore the salt formations  in the remote regions of the Dead Sea by boat,  which is the only way to get there. This boating excursion has become very popular among Israelis and tourists of the area.
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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