Jordan River Flowing into the Dead Sea31.5N 35.5E
The Jordan River is a 251 kilometre (156 mile) long river in Southwest Asia which flows vertically through the center of this image, into the Dead Sea. The last section, between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, has the least gradient. Thus, the river begins to meander before it enters the Dead Sea, which is about 400 metres below sea level and has no outlet. Two major tributaries enter from the east during this last phase: the Yarmouk River and Jabbok River.
In 1964, Israel began operating a dam that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee, a major Jordan River water provider, to the National Water Carrier. Also in 1964, Jordan constructed a channel that diverted water from the Yarmouk River. Syria has also built reservoirs that catch the Yarmouk’s waters. Environmentalists blame Israel, Jordan and Syria for extensive damage to the Jordan River ecosystem.
In modern times, the waters are 70% to 90% used for human purposes and the flow is much reduced. Because of this and the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea, the sea is shrinking. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained in modern times and are now salt flats.
In 2007, Friends of the Earth Middle East named the Jordan River as one of the world’s 100 most endangered ecological sites, due in part to lack of cooperation between Israel and the neighboring Arab states.