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Ein Gedi, Israel - The location is still called Lido junction, but the hotel and restaurant which gave it its name is now an abandoned ruin - a desolate token of what environmentalists call the demise of the Dead Sea.
Until some 30 years, the hotel was located right on the shore of this saltiest and lowest lake on earth.
Today, its waters are 1,5km removed from the building, built in the 1930s during British Mandatory rule over historic Palestine and operated until the early 1990s on what is now known as the West Bank.
All that remains of the hotel is a terrace and two walls adorned with frescos, depicting the River Jordan as it flows from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea.
For the past 10 years, only sewage has trickled from the River Jordan into the Dead Sea, with Israel, Jordan and Syria diverting most water upstream for use in agriculture and as drinking water since the 1960s.
While before then 1,3 billion cubic metres of water flowed from the River Jordan into the Dead Sea annually, today only around 100 million cubic metres find their way into the lake - less than 8 per cent.
The result is that the Dead Sea is shrinking - by one metre every year.
Unless something is done, it will continue to do so, until after about 150 years a new equilibrium is reached whereby the evaporation rate will match the minimized influx of water, because the smaller amount of water and higher salt concentrations will have gradually slowed evaporation.
"What we will be left with is certainly not a sea, not even a lake, but something much smaller," warned Gideon Bromberg, the Israeli director of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME).
One international environmentalist organization, the Global Nature Fund (GNF) which focuses on lakes, views the decline as so grave that it has declared the Dead Sea "Threatened Lake of the Year 2006."
The ecological impact of the declining sea level has become increasingly visible in the past years.
The Dead Sea is located in a desert area and its highly salty waters contain no life except for two dormant micro-organisms. But the land around it, although a non-man-made desert, is naturally green because of the abundance in ground water and many springs feeding on streams flowing down the surrounding mountains, especially in the rainy winter season.
However, many green patches are drying up, because with the declining sea level, the ground water is descending too and springs moving.
Large craters have also begun appearing along the shores, which make the coast inaccessible in many areas and render it unsuitable for tourism or any kind of development.
The "sinkholes" emerge when the ground water levels decline and pockets of minerals present in the soil dissolve into the less salty upper levels of the ground water, creating huge, underground cavities into which the surface earth then collapses.
When a local Israeli first spotted the sinkholes about 15 years ago, there were only a handful. Now, there are almost 1,000 along the western shore and many others along the Jordanian, eastern side.
"We, the environmentalists, often call these sinkholes nature's revenge, because they are the natural result of the man-made intervention," said Bromberg.
The World Bank, at the initiative of the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian governments, in July launched a two-year study into the feasibility of digging a conduit from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, which would pump water from the Gulf of Aqaba and Eilat into the shrinking lake.
But FOEME is opposed to the "Red-Dead Canal", because it fears it would damage the coral reefs in the Red Sea, change the composition of the Dead Sea waters and upset the ecological balance in the area.
But most of all, it would destroy the incentive to rehabilitate the Jordan River itself and restore at least some of the natural water flow through it, argued Bromberg.
That option is not being examined by the World Bank team as an alternative to the Red-Dead Canal proposal, he complained.
One way to use up less of the waters from the Jordan River, would be for the Israeli government to stop heavily subsidising water for agriculture, he proposed. Direct financial aid, for example, would help the struggling sector, but without removing all incentives to grow less water-demanding crops.
While the real price of water, as paid by residents of cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is more than one United States dollar per litre, farmers pay only 11 cents.
While only four litres of water are needed to grow a kilo of tomatoes, 40 litres are needed to grow one kilo of bananas - a commonly-cultivated fruit in Israel, Bromberg pointed out.
"It's absolutely crazy that we are growing bananas in the middle of the desert. It's a tropical fruit!" - Sapa-dpa