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Report: Dead Sea losing water more rapidly
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The Dead Sea has dropped more quickly in this two years than the average for the past decade, local daily Ha'aretz reported Thursday.

The average drop of the Dead Sea in 1998-2007 was 98 cm a year, but last year the drop was 138 cm and this year it has already dropped 113 cm, the report quoted Israel's Water Authority figures as saying.

The Dead Sea is famed as the lowest spot on earth and for containing the saltiest water -- where tourists can sit up in the water while reading newspaper because of the buoyancy provided by the salt and other chemicals.

In recent years, however, the inland lake has been visibly drying up due to a mixture of evaporation, lack of water and human activities.

There was a generally positive reception in Israel when the country's Minister for Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom in June proposed a pilot project to bring water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

However, an increasing number of environmentalists have spoken out against the plan.

Several other plans have been mooted over the years, perhaps most famously the Med-Dead option, which calls for the pumping of water from the Mediterranean Sea. That idea largely fell out of favor over the last decade, but some scientists started to push the idea once again.

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2009)

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