NIS 100m. okayed to reinforce Dead Sea hotels [pg. 18]

The government has approved a NIS 100 million budget to reinforce the foundations of Dead Sea hotels threatened by rising underground water levels from the pools of the Dead Sea Works, the Tourism Ministry said Tuesday. "We are approaching the deadline and are making a strategic effort to help the hotel district with the intention of closing the gaps that have been created there," Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog said. According to the budget, NIS 70m. will be designated to checking the engineering procedures required for the project. This will reveal if it is possible to divert the water to a lagoon established in the hotel region as a long-term solution to the threats of flooding in the area or as an alternative, harvest the salt from the Dead Sea works and transfer it to the actual Dead Sea, the ministry said. The remaining NIS 30m. will go towards strengthening the work that has already been done to keep the lower water level in the hotel region. The cost of the project will be covered by the 2007 budget.