Pub No. 417
The Dead Sea Basin
The continuing decline in the Dead Sea level from the 1950s onwards has brought about fundamental changes. Foremost of which is the retreat of the shorelines to a distance of hundreds of meters from their original location, the appearance of sinkholes, and the undercutting of streams. These changes and others affect the living conditions in the area and the possibilities for its development.
In 2006, the first comprehensive policy paper was published regarding the status of the Dead Sea and the surrounding area as a result of the decline in its level. The paper presented a complete picture of the significance of the drop in sea level to decision makers for the first time. It included a map of the sinkholes and areas that require evacuation, scenarios regarding the pace of the decline, ecological changes, economic consequences, and more.
Following this paper, a series of recommendations were implemented, leading to these achievements:
- Nearly all the areas at risk of sinkholes have been evacuated.
- Guidelines for construction permits in at-risk areas have been published by the Division for the Regulation of Construction Licenses of the Planning Administration.
- The Geological Institute has been budgeted to perform ongoing monitoring and tracking of the Dead Sea.
- The Geological Institute has developed instruments that locate surface failures ahead of their occurrence, and consequently alerts the relevant bodies needed to evacuate land uses, as has already occurred in the case of the sinkhole on Route 90.
- The Ministry of Tourism has re-planned the entire region and has even established a government company that carries out protective works and infrastructure development for tourism purposes.
- The government has worked diligently to consolidate a position regarding the continued operations of the Dead Sea Works, ultimately deciding to harvest the salt in the southern basin in order to deal with the flooding of the tourist area (decision no. 4060). It has also established the Naveh Committee to discuss the upcoming expiration of the license of the Dead Sea Works in 2030.
- The Dead Sea Drainage Authority and the Water Authority are constantly monitoring and updating the status of the shoreline springs and the underground waters that flow to the Dead Sea.
- The Israel Nature and Parks Authority is monitoring the effects of the changes in sea level on the unique biota of the shoreline springs, striving to protect and preserve them. It conducts preservation studies and projects in accordance with government decision no. 4254 for rehabilitation and development, with a budget of 120 million NS.