The Dead Sea, which is in contention to be named one of the Seven Wonders of Nature as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is dying at the rate of 3 vertical feet a year. That is how much water, on average, is evaporating or being removed on a yearly basis without being replenished by the Jordan River, which today only brings in two percent of the volume of water that it did 50 years ago due to its diversion for irrigation and urban water supplies.
Aggravating the loss of fresh water replenishment and the natural cycle of evaporation is the potash industry—a unique fertilizer that is obtained from the waters of the Dead Sea is the southern regions of Israel and Jordan. The consequences are as dramatic as they are devastating: Huge sinkholes are opening up along the receding shoreline while huge oases are drying up and disappearing. In order to save this unique and famous resource, a plan is under consideration to pipe in water from the Red Sea, which lies 118 miles to the south. However, critics of this plan point out that this will dramatically alter the waters of the Dead Sea, which has been fed by freshwater sources from rivers and spring, not salt water from the oceans.