On Sunday, the Nature and Parks Authority in Israel announced that a supply canal of the Dead Sea Works had suffered from a leak. Occurring in the south of the country in NahalTze’elim, it seems to have inflicted damage on the surrounding ecosystem. According to the authority, they had found some dead plants in the area and these include those that were on the list of protected species. The soil had become salinated because investigators discovered leaks in the supply canal’s east. However, it did not seem as if the leak had resulted in any soil erosion. But, the authority did note that there was a population of wildlife in the area, such as rodents, foxes, hyenas, rabbits and deer.
While it did not become apparent if there had been any animal deaths because of the leak, the authority said that the wildlife was at risk because plants dying meant that there would be a lack of food as well as shade. They further added that the source of the leak had a weak water flow, but this increased as they went downstream. In fact, they had come to an area where the liquid that had leaked was collected. A map of the incident’s area was created with the help of drones in order to evaluate the extent of the damage. Plus, the authority also wanted to know the possibility of it extending further.
But, the nature reserve did not seem to be in any immediate danger. Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL) owns Dead Sea Works. According to the company, the leak had been reported on Saturday and action had been immediately taken to fix the issue. They said in a statement that they had followed procedures for informing the authorities after the discovery of the leak and then began investigating the causes. It further said that they had responded promptly and were doing their best to cut down seawater infiltration.
ICL also owns and operates ICL Rotem, which was formerly named RotenAmfert Negev Ltd. The company is notorious because it was behind one of the worst environmental disasters to have occurred in Israel. The incident had occurred back in 2017 when extremely toxic wastewater of about 100,000 and 250,000 cubic meters ended up in the Ashalim stream. The area had suffered from massive damage. The Nature and Parks Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry are now in contact with one another.
ICL operations are also being monitored, as the company is working to figuring out the quickest way to fix the leak and keep damage to a minimum. Every year, the Dead Sea recedes by about 1.2 meters and it gets its water from the Jordan River. As Syria, Jordan and Israel all have growing populations, the country divert the water for use in agriculture and other purposes. But, the Dead Sea Works has been granted permission to use the lake for pumping water. The largest holding company in Israel, Israel Corporation that belongs to the Ofer family controls ICL.