Nice little piece here about attempts to fill up the Dead Sea from the Red Sea. Most of it\’s pretty good actually, it is something of a worry and yes, the best solution would probably be to abstract less water from the Jordan. However, it being The Guardian they can\’t help themselves but snarl at business:
The company is only concerned with its commercial interests, he claims, and whether a change in the chemical composition of Dead Sea waters would impact on its mineral extraction business – which has been a big contributor to the problem.
Industry is also to blame: the waters of the Dead Sea have been pumped into evaporation ponds to allow the extraction of minerals.
I\’m not entirely convinced by that. Perhaps I need someone to put me straight here?
You can get all sorts of minerals from salty water. Obviously, with sea salt we can get sodium chloride as with Maldon salt. However, if you\’ve got a really briny piece of water, like the Dead Sea, when you evaporate off the water you can get commercial quantities of magnesium (magnesium chloride I assume) and that\’s what that plant does.
OK. But I\’m unconvinced that evaporation ponds actually increase the amount of evaporation. They certainly make it possible to collect the salts (the technical name for things like magnesium or sodium chloride) as once the water evaporates off you\’ve got the salt just lying there. If water was evaporating off the top of the sea at the same rate then the salts would just be making the rest of the sea that little bit saltier.
OK, maybe the evaporation ponds increase the surface area of the sea and thus the amount of evaporation that occurs. But, perhaps someone can tell me, is this actually a serious addition to the evaporation of the sea?