An important consequence of the drastic decrease of the flow of the Jordan River (decrease of 98% of its volume compared to 50 years ago), are the consequences on the level of the Dead Sea. In the case of the Jordan River level, this is mainly due to the diversion and to the dams built by Israel, Jordan, and Syria (on the Yarmouk, the main tributary of the Jordan River), but indeed lower precipitation and higher temperature have also an impact on the river. For this reason, the level of Dead Sea is falling every year by more or less 1 meter, losing more than 25 meters in the last thirty years. If no actions will be taken, the risk is that within fifty years this sea will disappear. This phenomenon in the last years has generated another new visible consequence: more than 2,000 sinkholes.
A sinkhole is a natural hole, a depression, in the surface of the land surrounding the sea and it is formed suddenly. These sinkholes are supposed to be caused by a groundwater level drop – as a consequence of the Dead Sea level drop – forming cavities underground, where fresh water used to be previously. Incoming water will then dissolve salt layers, causing internal holes that collapsing, will suddenly create the sinkholes around the Dead Sea. This phenomenon, happening suddenly, may be seriously dangerous for workers and people happening to be in the area where the sinkhole will form. As a matter of fact, a farmer together with his donkey died falling in a sinkhole that was forming under them while he was working on his land. A sinkhole can open at any time swallowing up everything on the surface, like an earthquake. Together with the risk for the local people, there are two other problems: firstly, it is dangerous to cultivate the area near the Dead Sea; secondly many economic activities such as industries have been seriously damaged and had to close for security reasons. For instance, in the village of Ghor Haditha, along the Jordanian side of the southern Dead Sea, more than 100 sinkholes appeared damaging agricultural lands, forcing the farmers to abandon these areas, as well as damaging economic industrial activities. In fact, in the same village a factory producing Dead Sea’s soaps and beauty products had to close for security reasons after that it has been seriously damaged by this phenomenon.
If no serious actions to rehabilitate the Jordan River will be taken, soon there will be no more Jordan River and Dead Sea... What is the world waiting for?