Jordan River Restoration Project
The Dead Sea Water Project Working Group proposes restoration of viable flow for the Jordan
River in connection with their project for saving the Dead Sea. Since the early 1960s, 1.2
billion cubic meters annual flow has been removed from the Jordan River, leaving it dependent
on sewage to remain low enough in saline to enable continued use for irrigation. It is in danger
of drying up completely.
An article describing the present status of the Jordan River recently ran in the Australian News,
Jordan River 'running on sewage'
June 26, 2005
AMMAN: The Jordan River, where Christians believe Jesus was baptized, is heavily polluted with
sewage and is in danger of drying up after decades of conflict and intense agricultural use,
environmentalists said on Friday.
In the early 1960s, the Jordan moved 1.3 billion cubic meters of water every year from the Sea
of Galilee to the Dead Sea.
But dams, canals and pumping stations built by Israel, Jordan and Syria to divert water for
crops and drinking have reduced the flow by more than 90 per cent to about 100 million cubic
"The Jordan River will disappear if nothing is done soon. More than half of it is raw sewage and
runoff water from agriculture. What keeps the river flowing today is sewage," Munqeth Mehyar,
chairman of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME), an Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian group,
Next month, FOEME says it will host an event in which Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian mayors
will jump into the Jordan as part of a campaign to clean up the dying river.
The dramatic decline in the Jordan is the main reason why the Dead Sea is also vanishing. The
level of the world's saltiest large body of water is falling by a metre each year and the sea
could disappear in 50 years, experts say.
Years of conflict between the main users of the river -- revered by Christians, Muslims and
Jews -- have contributed to the crisis. The river meanders for 200km along the lush Jordan
Valley, separating Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.
"The story of the demise of the River Jordan is the competition between Israel, Jordan and Syria
for water. It is about grabbing as much water as they possibly can," said Gidon Bromberg,
FOEME's Israeli director.
The Dead Sea Water Project plan can make possible 500 million cubic meters desalinated water
annually for renewing the Jordan River. The water would be produced by a desalination plant on
the north end of the Dead Sea, taking feedwater from the layer of Med Sea water to be placed on
top of the Dead Sea by the planned DSWP. Desalinated water would be pumped via pipeline to just
below the Sea of Galilee, providing potable water for use in the Jordan Valley between the Sea
of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Unused water would be dumped into the Jordan River and allowed to
flow back toward the Dead Sea, being collected for irrigation water just above the Dead Sea.
Why call it Ezekiel's Water Project?