European Commission Fifth RTD Framework Programme

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

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The Project




Methods & Building Blocks

Water Uses



Preliminary Results


Physiography & Climate

Surface Water


Water Imports/Exports

Water Uses


Peoples' Attitudes and Perceptions


Land Use and Land Cover

Data and maps

Population Distribution

Surface Water Harvesting

Groundwater Wells and Springs

Water Uses

Land use/cover Change

Biomass Change (1985-2004)

Water Balance Sheet

What's new


Publications and reports

Question of the Week

Focus Group Meetings

Scenario Management Tool

Dynamic Synthesis Model

Essential Needs of Nature

Proposal for Interdisciplinary Research Integration

Preliminary Project Results

A dropping Dead Sea

Construction of the Project Harmonized Database

           This resulted in the development of a GIS-based database that contains harmonized and comparable physical, economic and social data, including consistent sets of maps that document the spatial dimension of current and projected water supply and demand sectors, and of land use patterns that drive water supply and demand.  The following datasets were generated:

1. Physiography and Climate: This included the generation of datasets that described the topography (e.g. Elevation, Terrain Slope and Aspect), Soil and geology, monthly average precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, pan evaporation and reference evapotranspiration.

2. Surface Hydrology: This included historic and current information on surface water flows in the Jordan River Basin, Dead Sea Side Wadis and the collection of Water in Dams, Reservoirs and Cisterns.

3. Ground Water: And included information on sustainable yields, current and planned levels of abstraction from wells and discharge from water springs.  It also included information on water quality and uses.

4. Water Imports and Exports: Significant volume of water is either imported into the study area or exported for use outside the Dead sea Basin.  Information regarding the volume of water imports and exports was assessed.

5. Water uses: Information on water supply and water use per sector in the Dead Sea Basin was collected from several sources.  Information on water pricing was also collected.

6. Wastewater generation, treatment and reuse: and includes information on the volume of the generated wastewater in the study area, the methods and locations of discharge, the volume of treated and reused wastewater.

7. Biological Diversity and includes information on the distribution of natural plant alliances, records of plant, reptile and mammal species from several biodiversity libraries and references.

8. Land Cover, Land Use and Biomass Change detection: Satellite images from the present and the past were used to understand changes in above ground green biomass.  Land cover maps were also generated for the study area from the 2003 and 2004 LANDSAT ETM+ images.

9. Base Map: Information on population distribution, road networks, etc was also generated for the entire study area.


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Scenario Development


           “Scenarios are imaginative pictures of potential futures, but the future is just a means to an end.” (Kleiner, 1999 p.1) Scenario building practice is used by managers and leaders to help “themselves to see past their own blind spots.” (Kleiner, 1999 p.1) Herman Kahn developed the practice of scenario building to help people look at the possibility of a nuclear war at a time when no one could believe that such a thing was possible. In the scenario development process, several focus group meetings in the three riparian countries were conducted to Ensure the involvement of users and stakeholders in the Scenario development process.  Synopsis of the developed scenarios and the method used in developing the scenarios are described in the Scenarios page.


System Analysis


           This resulted in an understanding the complexity of interconnections of the water management system and its driving forces.  The physical system of water supply and water use was modeled.  The essential water needs and the non-essential water wishes were analyzed and as well modeled.  The interconnections within each of the components were quantified.  This resulted in virtual system representative of the water management system and its driving forces in the Dead Sea Basin.




Assessment of Options


            This is the analysis and evaluation of socially, economically and environmentally sound options for a more sustainable water use: alternatives for irrigated agriculture; water requirements for nature/ecosystems, chances and limits of enhanced tourism; contribution of technical options for water supply & efficient use (including re-use). Work is still ongoing.  Information on the essential needs of nature can be found here.

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