The Dead Sea is a salted lake bordered by Jordan to the east and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley and its main tributary is the Jordan River. Its surface and shores are 430.5 meters below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers. Today, tourists visit the Sea on its Israeli, Jordanian and West Bank coastlines; Israel has faced criticism for refusing to allow a Palestinian tourism industry to develop along the West Bank coast.
The Dead Sea is receding at a swift rate; its surface area today is 605 km2 (234 sq mi), having been 1,050 km2 (410 sq mi) in 1930. The recession of the Dead Sea has begun causing problems, and multiple canal and pipeline proposals have been made to reduce its recession. One of these proposals is the Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance project, carried out by Jordan, which will provide water to neighbouring countries, while the brine will be carried to the Dead Sea to help stabilise its water level. The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021.