The Dead Sea is dying, and only a major engineering effort can save it, Israel’s Minister of the Environment said Monday. The Dead Sea gets its name from its heavy salt content, because no aquatic creatures can live in it. Now there’s a new “death threat” — the Dead Sea is drying up and disappearing.

AN ISRAELI TV REPORTER, illustrating the government report, stood on a spot where, just 20 years ago, water met land. Now that point is 2,000 feet of parched ground away, he said, as the sea gradually recedes.

Because it is landlocked in a hot desert area, evaporation is high, accounting for the dense salt concentration that allows bathers to float above the water with no effort. The area is popular for spas and treatments, with luxury hotels on both sides.

For millennia, the balance was maintained by the Dead Sea’s only water source, the Jordan River, pouring in from the north. In recent decades, however, both Israel and Jordan have been tapping in to irrigate large swaths of agricultural land along the narrow river that divides the two countries, robbing the Dead Sea of its replacement water.

A five-year drought has added to the woes of Dead Sea, which occupies the lowest point on Earth, 1,320 feet below sea level. The sea is about 38 miles long and about 11 miles wide.

The Israeli study said that without…

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