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Preserving the Dead Sea, a Jewel for Future Generations

Preserving the Dead Sea, a Jewel for Future Generations Read Transcript


JULIE STAHL: Sunrise over the Dead Sea.

A soothing atmosphere, Biblical landmark, and mineral treasure.

It sits on the Great Rift Valley between Israel and Jordan.

Fed by fresh water from the Jordan River and mineral

springs, it's one of the saltiest lakes in the world,

so salty no fish can survive in it.

Nominated as one of the seven wonders

of the world, the water, mud, and atmosphere

have healing properties.

But all this could disappear.

The Dead Sea is dropping at a rate of five to eight feet

a year.

This blue chair marks where the shoreline

was just four years ago.

That means the lowest point on Earth is getting even lower.

AVNER ADIN: The reason is very, very simple.

On one hand, there is all the time evaporation of water from.

The surface is very large.

On the other hand, good water from the upper Jordan

were taken for irrigation to develop agriculture, develop

food for the people.

And the stuff reaching the Dead Sea,

so the balance has changed.

JULIE STAHL: Hebrew University professor Avner Adin

says there's only one way to restore the sea.

What could save the the Dead Sea

is actually pouring water into the Dead Sea.

Adin told

JULIE STAHL: CBN News a combination of solutions

is the only way to help.

One way, which is the natural one,

meaning let the rivers flow into it.

Don't take the water from the Jordan, from the other rivers.

Let it come back to its natural way.

The other way is artificial, meaning making the Red

to Dead Sea project come true.

JULIE STAHL: Israel and Jordan signed the Red-Dead Agreement

to make a 140 mile canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

The billion dollar project begins with a desalination

plant to provide much needed water and power to Jordan,

then would drop the remainder of the water in the Dead Sea.

Another way that in part could be done

would be to take water from the Mediterranean,

and desalinate this water, and give this water for drinking

and for agriculture instead of taking

the water from the Lake of Galilee and from the streams.

But

JULIE STAHL: Adin said, it's not easy to get governments

invested in saving it.

That's why activists like Jacob Ben Zaken and Noam Bedein

are sounding the alarm.

I want to see the Dead Sea restored.

JULIE STAHL: Ben Zaken, from a nearby kibbutz,

gives the only boat ride available on the Dead Sea.

JACOB BEN ZAKEN: The purpose is to bring awareness to the Dead

Sea, to the beauty, to everything that's going on,

including the disappearing of the Dead Sea

and the way to save it.

JULIE STAHL: And it's working.

Over a year ago, photojournalist Bedein took the boat tour.

And that touched me as an Israeli to speak up for this

enchanted pre-historical Biblical place,

to stand up for it.

JULIE STAHL: These salty pillars are chimneys may be stunning,

but their appearance signals trouble.

Bedein's photos show the drop in the water level in just one

year.

NOAM BEDEIN: I've been documenting this one of a kind

place like never before.

Going on this boat ride over a period of time

and documenting the beauty, the magic of this place

with a purpose to educate the next generation

of this one of a kind place, but also

showing the dramatic changes that this place has

been taking.

JULIE STAHL: The drop has also caused huge sinkholes

to open up along the shore, forcing beaches to close

and a nearby road to collapse.

The Dead Sea is a favorite tourist destination.

It's so salty you can't sink, only float.

But there's much more.

In the Bible, a young David hid in the nearby caves

of Ein Gedi.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the Qumran Caves,

giving us the oldest manuscripts of the Bible.

And the Dead Sea is actually giving life.

The waters and air at the Dead Sea

have special healing properties for skin and other ailments.

And mineral mining yields potash, a key element

for fertilizer used in agriculture to feed the world.

According to Adin, the Dead Sea is like a very special diamond

that needs to be preserved.

Julie Stahl, CBN News, the Dead Sea.

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