Left: November 9, 1984. Right: November 28, 2011. The Dead Sea lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordering Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. It is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, too salty to harbor any life other than bacteria. Minerals from the sea, however, are extracted for various industrial purposes. Mineral evaporation ponds have replaced open water in the southern part of the sea, as can be seen in the 2011 image. In recent decades, the Dead Sea has shrunk as water has been diverted from the Jordan River, the sea’s main tributary. A plan has been announced to replenish the Dead Sea by building a canal from the Red Sea, providing fresh (desalinated) water to Jordan en route.
1984 image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. 2011 image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, “The Dead Sea,” U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.
Phoenix Arizona, a city of 1,5 million inhabitants, is located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. It has the hottest climate of any major city in the United States. The city receives its water from the Colorado River through a 310 mile long (500km) water canal called the CAP (Central Arizona Project), that transports about 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year.
Photo’s: Johannes Abeling and Ronald de Hommel
Little is left of the Jordan River. Most of the water is diverted for irrigating farmlands and supplying cities. Few rivers have spawned conflict like the Jordan River has. Years of below average rainfall forced the bordering countries to search for alternative sources. The ultimate project is a proposed conveyance system between the Red Sea and Dead Sea. ‘It is the only major project in which Israel, the Palestine Authorities and Jordan cooperate.’