AMMAN, Jordan, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Jordan's plan to refill the Dead Sea with water from the Red Sea could damage ecosystems in both bodies of water, environmentalists warn.
Water levels in the Dead Sea, the Earth's lowest and saltiest body of water, have been shrinking by more than 4 feet a year for the last 20 years, largely because of water extracted for drinking, agriculture and industry, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.
The Jordanian government plans to extract more than 10 billion cubic feet a year from the Red Sea, 110 miles to the south, route most of it to a desalination plant to create drinking water, and then send the remaining salty wastewater to the Dead Sea by tunnel, Jordanian Water Minister Maysoun Zu'bi said. The project would begin as soon as funding is arranged, Zu'bi said.
Environmentalists warn that mixing two types of saltwater could produce algae blooms in the Dead Sea, while increased salinity in the Red Sea could damage fish and coral, the Telegraph reported.