−1,412ft (−430.5 m)

Max Depth

-978ft (-278m)

Surface Area

234 sq mi (605 sq km)


230 ppt, vs. 35ppt average salinity of ocean water


A Diverted River

A raging river

Prior to the 20th century,
the Jordan River was a raging river, rushing from the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea replenishing it for millennia after millennia.

Water diverted

During the 20th century, the Jordan was diverted to become the largest freshwater source for Israel, until a drought drove the country towards desalination.

Conflict over Syria's diversion of the Jordan River's water contributed to the six-day war in 1965.

A diminished flow rate

Thanks to water diversion for cities and agriculture, the Jordan River today is reduced to only 2% of its historical flow

A dying sea

Today the Jordan is barely a trickle when it reaches the Dead Sea, which has been disappearing rapidly since.

A Dying Dead Sea



Going, going...

As an endorheic sea (a sea with no outlet), the Dead Sea has always been extremely saline, with a salt concentration 8X that of normal ocean water.

Even when the Jordan River flowed at its historic rate, without an outlet to flush the salts, they concentrated as the water evaporated away in the ferociously hot desert winds.

However, with the diversion of Jordan River water for farms and cities, the Dead Sea began its decline to the modern shorelines - and without a refill, this mythic body of water will one day cease to exist.


Abandoned Projects

Red Sea to Dead Sea

An $11B collaboration between Jordan and Israel was launched in 2018 to refill the Dead Sea with Red Sea water.
The project was cancelled in 2021 due to geopolitics which made the project politically untenable.

No project is currently in active development, as the Dead Sea declines and sinkholes dominate the shorelines.

The Mediterranean Route

Alternatives including a tunnel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea were investigated in the 1970s and 80s, but were abandoned due to the cost of tunneling at the time.
Given that the Dead Sea is 430m (1400ft) below sea level - or twice the height of the hoover dam - the idea had the possibility to produce ~250MW/yr (about $45M/yr) of hydropower.

SEE the DEFUNCT project

A Sea Worth Saving