(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/IAN AND WENDY SEWELL)
With 20 million tons of salt set to be harvested from a southern Dead Sea pool and dumped into the northern basin annually, the government is urging members of the public to propose alternative solutions for the massive amounts of sodium chloride.
The Interior Ministry’s Planning Authority has launched a crowdsourcing website – at yoursay.moin.gov.il – in which citizens can voice their opinions until the end of January as to how the salt can be used to benefit industry and the economy, the ministry said.
Cabinet members approved plans to annually harvest salt from Pool 5 in the Dead Sea’s southern basin in January 2012 as a means to curb rising water levels that threaten to flood the surrounding hotel zone. Each year, about 20m. tons of salt have been sinking into the pool as a result of potash and magnesium production, causing the rising water levels, the Interior Ministry explained.
According to the 2012 decision, 80 percent of the harvest costs are being shouldered by Israel Chemicals unit Dead Sea Works, while the state is funding the remaining portion.
Also as part of that decision, the state’s share in potash sales rose from 5 percent to 10% at the time, with the additional royalties designated to a Dead Sea rehabilitation fund.
Initially, the harvest plans stipulated that the salt removed would be conveyed to the Dead Sea’s northern basin. However, this solution is not only expensive, but also presents potential environmental implications to the receiving basin, the Interior Ministry stressed.
“Accordingly, the Interior Ministry is searching for a solution for the salt created that will serve as a benefit for society, industry and the economy in Israel,” the ministry said. “We welcome suggestions and ideas for the question: What uses can there be for the salt harvested from the Dead Sea?”