European Commission Fifth RTD Framework Programme

A Future for The Dead Sea: Options for a More Sustainable Water Management

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Peoples' Attitudes and Perceptions

Peoples' Attitudes & perceptions


            A questionnaire survey was conducted in the three riparian countries in order to understand how people perceive the problem of the shrinking Dead Sea. Our approach emphasizes the concerns and priorities of residents on all sides of the basin. Correlation analysis between survey responses and socio-economic and socio-demographic factors were analyzed. This work is the first cross-cultural and multi-national environmental survey to be taken in the region. Results show how Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians think about the issue and ways in which an equitable and sustainable solution can be found.

Residents of the Dead Sea Basin


           Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians reside within the Dead Sea basin. The three publics differ culturally, economically and politically. The Israeli public has by far the lowest population density within the basin. The total population of residents is approximately 1,500 individuals. The majority of the residents reside in agricultural settlements (kibbutzim or moshavim in Hebrew). The region is divided into two regional authorities. The southern Tamar regional authority is located within Israel’s pre-1967 borders whereas the northern Megillot regional authority is beyond the post-1967 borders.


           Any peace agreement with the Palestinians will most likely result in a shift in Israeli demographics in the basin. Date farming for export is the most profitable agricultural activity. Food crops, primarily vegetable crops, are also grown. The largest industrial activity is the Dead Sea Works which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea and is the world's fourth largest producer and supplier of potash products. Tourism is also an important contributor to the local economy. Most of the employees of the Dead Sea Works and of the hotels come from outside of the basin.


           The Palestinian population in the study area resides in urban and rural communities as well as in refugee camps. The total Palestinian population in the study area as of 2002 was 512,238. Most of the communities are located in the western part of the Dead Sea basin, whereas the eastern part is sparsely populated. Economic activities are local scale agriculture including livestock farming (sheep and goats), stone quarrying and olive oil pressing. Manufacturing and service related industries are practiced in the urban centers.


           On the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea population estimates are approximately 54,000 people. Rural farming is the dominant activity. Both fruits and vegetables are grown. According to land area cultivated, lemons, olives, tomatoes and beans are the dominant crops. The rural farming community is estimated at 53,000 people. The Arab Potash Company is located at the southern end of the Dead Sea and produces similar products to that of the Dead Sea Works in Israel. The company employs 300 people who live on the premises. There are also three hotels on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.

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Download the analysis results


           The full analyses of the questionnaire and the obtained results can be downloaded in pdf format.

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