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he Dead Sea may soon shrink to a lifeless pond as Middle East political strife blocks vital measures needed to halt the decay of the world's lowest and saltiest body of water, experts say.
Mahasneh says climate change is aggravating the crisis. "Climate change affected everything," he said. "It's an umbrella for many problems, including short rainfall. "Nothing is being seriously done to tackle climate change. Sustainable and integrated solutions are needed."
The World Bank has funded a two-year study of the plan for a pipeline from the Red Sea to replenish the Dead Sea. The project, agreed in outline by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan in 2005, aims to channel two billion cubic metres (70 billion cubic feet) of water a year via a 200-kilometre (120-mile) canal to produce fresh water and generate electricity as well as raise the Dead Sea. But some environmentalists say the scheme could harm the Dead Sea further by changing its unique chemistry by introducing Red Sea water. "We are dealing with at least two sensitive and different ecosystems: the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. We also need to keep an open mind about other possible alternatives," said Munqeth Mehyar, FoEME chair.