Across all this land there once was water. Over the past decade the Dead Sea has been shrinking rapidly, by as much as one metre each year. This is because of sustained resource deterioration, caused by both the diversion of the Jordan river in the north and the mineral mining industry in the south. The deterioration has led to craters, or sinkholes, appearing; these formations sometimes draw sweet waters, and where there is freshwater, there is hope for new life.
These dilapidated parking lots, gas stations and restaurants are not the reminders of a war. Instead these ruins belong to an abandoned beach of kibbutz Ein Gedi, which was once the liveliest part of the coast. The beach’s desertion was caused by nature; as the saltwater level declined, the underground fresh water dissolved the rock beneath the surface, which caused the ground to collapse. These structures serve as a reminder of the human struggle to control natural resources.