About the Project

Since the construction of the National Water Carrier, which diverted the water flowing from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea to the Negev, there has been a significant decrease in the water level of the Dead Sea.
This problem has been exacerbated over the years since the water level in the Dead Sea is decreasing regardless of its diversion due to the activity of the Dead Sea Works and a natural evaporation process. New water does not flow into the lake, creating a separation between the two parts of the Dead Sea, the northern and the southern. This dehydration process causes a large accumulation of salt on the seabed. Approximately 20 million tons of salt precipitate annually in the evaporation ponds located in the southern part of the Dead Sea and along the shores of which the hotels in the area are located. The project’s goal is to reduce the ever-increasing salt accumulations. The salt harvest is carried out by a unique dredger named ‘the Salt Dredger.’ The dredger collects all the salt that accumulates on the pond’s floor and transports it to the northern portion to stabilize the water level in the evaporation ponds. This action stabilizes the area and protects the populated and tourist areas against flooding. In the coming years, when the National Water Carrier enhances its water flow in the opposite direction, i.e., towards the Sea of Galilee, a natural flow toward the Dead Sea can also be restored.

The Salt Dredger

The dredger’s construction was and remains a unique and extraordinary project. Since the Dead Sea is not connected to any other body of water, it was necessary to build the dredger on land in an empty pond. The building and assembly process took approximately one year, for which parts specially designed and manufactured were imported for the project. The dredger is approximately 150 meters long and 100 meters wide. Upon conclusion of the building phase, the pond was filled with water to cause the dredger to float until it would be capable of sailing into the Dead Sea. The Salt Dredger is a unique boat that is capable of floating on very shallow water and additionally has “legs” by which it can move through areas of extremely shallow water. The dredger operates via sonar to scan the pond floor for salt.

Work on the Salt Harvest project began in October 2022 and, at the end of its first year, harvested 8 million m3 of salt, a considerable amount far beyond the set target. This project is the first of its kind in Israel. Before the dredger’s operation, salt harvesting occurred successfully only in smaller boats or devices, and the harvests were very small.

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