Living under the conditions of continuous scarcity of water in the 21st century, when there are so many technological innovations, is something that is hard to imagine Unfortunately, the Jordanians have to live in fear of losing water due to the rapid shrinking of the Dead Sea. The problem continues to rise because of the increase of the Syrian refugees that live in Jordan and consume up to 40% of the water resources. However, hot climate conditions represent the biggest threat to the rapid shrinking of the Dead Sea, so that it can lead to its disappearance. The recent events, circulating around the issue of the Dead Sea, led to the establishment of the Red-Sea-Dead-Sea (RSDS) project, aimed at providing with water Jordan and the other participating countries, including Israel and Palestine. The project raises many doubts in society and continues to have a questionable influence on the surrounding environment. In fact, RSDS project should remain the primary focus of Jordan, if it is willing to reduce the chronic scarcity of water.
Jordan has always been one of the most water-scarce regions on the planet, suffering from extremely dry rainy seasons. In fact, the Dead Sea started to shrink in 1972 from 950 km2 to 637 km2 in 2011 (El-Anis & Smith, 2013). The Jordanians notice difference in the shoreline, which continues to expand due to the drying sea. Transportation of millions cubic meters of water and hydration of the land that suffers from drought seem to be the only appropriate solution for the revival of the region. The World Bank approved the $10 billion agreement on the connection of the Dead Sea and the Red Sea on December 9, 2013 (El-Anis & Smith, 2013). It started the implementation of the first phase of the project by focusing on building the intake facility at the Northern side of the Aqaba Gulf. In general, the multinational proposal aims at constructing the pipeline 180 km in length and 60 km in width that should run through the Jordan landscape and carry around two billion cubic meters of water per year (El-Anis & Smith, 2013). The project aims at nourishing the Dead Sea with the water from the Red Sea and save the region from drought.
The increasing population and global warming make the proposed solution the only possible way to solve the problem of water scarcity in Jordan. The country’s restricted access to water is the primary argument in support of the project implementation. Regardless of the cost of the initiative, it is necessary to act immediately in order to prevent the natural devastation of the region. Drinking needs, household keeping, and agriculture, along with the other economic sectors, require enormous amounts of water in order to cover the needs of the country. It is becoming more difficult and challenging to take care of the region’s needs due to the rising temperature and dry raining seasons. The Jordanians are afraid of becoming a desert region due to the rapid reduction of water resources. The Jordan River does not nourish the Dead Sea with fresh water, as it used to do before, due to the changeable climate conditions and industrial growth of the region that is interested in the international cooperation (Gavrieli, Bein, & Oren, 2005). In addition, the influx of Syrian refugees is the alarming sign for the implementation of the project due to the increased level of water consumption. The region needs to have enough water in order to take care of all citizens and to provide them with the sufficient amount of water resources to maintain productive and healthy performance. Otherwise, the region will enter a path of slow extinction.
Another argument in support of the project’s implementation has a political character. Jordan, Israel, and Palestine should realize their responsibility for taking care of the revival of the Dead Sea. The RSDS project should be helpful in bringing cooperation and strengthening international relations among the participating countries (Rosenberg, 2011). In addition, it will attract the attention of the West World to the problem of global warming, which already leads to the devastation of the water surface. In this way, it is necessary to make accent on both local and global levels. If the experiment manages to connect successfully two seas, it will be possible to reconsider water-saving initiative in other parts of the world. Nevertheless, as long as the project is on its experimental stage, it is worth paying attention to the counterarguments, presented by the opponents of the project.
The main opposing point of view in light of the project’s implementation refers to the potential environmental threat for the surrounding area. The Dead Sea has a unique ecosystem that includes birds, insects, animals, plants, and microorganisms, used to living in the specific climatic conditions in the Jordan area. All the inhabitants of the region should have environmental protection. The imbalanced ecosystem of the region may become the biggest threat to the environmental sustainability (Gavrieli, Bein, & Oren, 2005). Moreover, ecologist cannot predict the outcomes of the chemical composition that will occur after connecting two different water resources in a single vessel. The environmental disaster is one of the biggest threats to the success of the projects that makes many people worry about the idea of implementing the RSDS project.
In addition, mineral extraction is one of the most crucial areas of activity for Jordan. It is one of the major components of beauty products, which provide the region with stable income (Oren et al., 2004). The implementation of the project may lead to the erosion of valuable mineral elements that would devastate the region. It is necessary to continue the maintenance of mineral extraction in order to support the sustainability of the region. Otherwise, Jordan will lose another source of income, and it will have a negative impact on the financial prosperity of the region. From this point of view, the project requires revision in order to make it effective and guarantee the positive outcomes.
One of the ideas regarding the existing problem in Jordan refers to the opportunity of reviving the Jordan River and restoring the transition of fresh water to the Dead Sea, which has always taken its water resources from the river. The critics claim that the implementation of the project will have a damaging effect on the landscape and will lead to the appearance of new environmental issues. The river should become the only source of fresh water in order to bring balance in the water resources. Nevertheless, if it was possible to rehabilitate the river, it would already be the main priority of Jordan. The rapid shrinking of the Dead Sea indicates that the Jordan River will not be capable of bringing enough water due to the changeable climate conditions (Wedyan et al., 2013). The lack of highly rainy seasons is one of the factors that do not allow making an effective revival of the river. As a result, the country can waste enormous amounts of money.
In conclusion, the discussion has proved that the existing problem in Jordan is quite complex and difficult to manage. A single recommendation, which can help the region to survive, is taking a risk and trying to implement the project. However, there is a need to have a reliable support of ecologists, who would control the reaction of the surrounding area on the implementation of the project. It will help to predict the damage, which still has a chance of ruining the ecosystem of Jordan. On the other hand, the project should be beneficial in terms of political cooperation and international integration of countries that are willing to solve the problem, faced by Jordan.