Target: Water Commissioner of Israel, Uri Shani
Goal: In order to maintain the water level of the Dead Sea, the Israeli Water Commissioner must end the siphoning of the Jordan River for agriculture and public demands.
Deep within Jordan’s picturesque Rift Valley lies a truly breathtaking and spiritual landscape; the Dead Sea. It is the lowest body of water on Earth at 1,388 feet below sea level, the lowest point on Earth, and the world’s richest source of natural salts and essential minerals. And although the sea is devoid of life, the high content of salt and minerals provide world-renowned curative powers, therapeutic qualities, and buoyancy that have been recognized and prized since the days of Herod the Great, more than two millennia ago. Unfortunately, despite its popularity and appeal, the Dead Sea is in danger of drying up as its main source, the Jordan River, is being diverted for agriculture, industry and drinking water to appease the growing population of Israel. In order to prevent the death of this miraculous and beautiful sea, the Water Commissioner of Israel must take action to stop the overuse of the Jordan River.
As of October 26, 1994, Israel retained the right to use 97 percent of the total flow of the Jordan River with Jordan only entitled to 3 percent, according to the Wadi Araba Peace Treaty. And although Israel maintains it does not abuse its rights to the water flow, siphoning of river water has led to a significant drop of the Dead Sea’s water level, nearly 3 feet each year. Combined with the naturally dry climate of the basin, scientists predict that if the Dead Sea does not receive enough water to offset evaporation, it could dry up within 25 years.
The land surrounding the Dead Sea and the numerous farmers that populate the region, also face devastation due to the lower sea level. Farms have been disappearing from sudden sinkholes caused by the shrinking sea, and many local villagers have lost their homes, cattle and even their lives. As Jaber Abu Jarrar, a farmer from the Ghour Al Haditha village, explains, “It’s like living on a landmine.” Sinkholes, or better known as “death traps,” appear spontaneously when influxes of fresh groundwater, triggered by a decrease in the sea level, gradually dissolve surface areas until they collapse, creating large holes within the ground.
Because Israel owns nearly all of the rights to the Jordan River, it is its duty to use the resource in a responsible and unobtrusive manner. In other words, Israel must stop diverting such large quantities of water for agricultural and public reasons. The country’s misuse of the Jordan River is causing severe damage to the Rift Valley, which will eventually cause the disappearance of the Dead Sea as well as destroy the livelihood of surrounding villages.
By signing the petition below you will help convince the Israeli Water Commissioner to preserve the Jordan River and stop the unhindered siphoning of the river’s water, and thus save the Dead Sea.
Dear Water Commissioner of Israel, Uri Shani,
The irresponsible siphoning of water from the Jordan River is causing significant damage to Jordan’s Rift Valley. The world renowned Dead Sea is gradually disappearing due to lack of drainage from the major river, which is its main water source, and hundreds of local villagers are terrorized by the sudden and deadly appearances of sinkholes caused by the receding sea level.
The Wadi Araba Peace Treaty gave your country rights to 97 percent of the Jordan River, and as the main proprietor you must regard how your use of river water impacts neighboring countries. Supplying water to your agriculture and general public cannot be the sole priority because such actions result in the destruction of a valued destination site and the suffering of hundreds of local villagers.
The Dead Sea has been a treasure for millennia due to its serene beauty and curative abilities. Its dramatic landscape and healing powers are unparalleled and must be preserved for future generations.
I am urging you make the survival of the Dead Sea and its local villages a priority. Your actions can determine the fate of a whole region. Don’t allow the death of a natural wonder, and help prevent the destruction of local communities.
[Your Name Here]