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Why can you go rafting in the upper Jordan River and not the lower Jordan River?

December 26, 2009

Jordan River

The Jordan River flows south from the outlet of Lake Tiberias, goes through the Rift Valley, and into the Dead Sea. The characteristics of the lower Jordan River are much different than those of the upper Jordan River. Only a small percentage of the inflow to Lake Tiberias gets released to the lower Jordan River; and much of the discharge from the Yarmouk River is used for water supply before it joins with the Jordan River.

Water-quality differences between the upper and lower Jordan River also are significant. Water quality in the lower Jordan does not support many uses because of high chlorides introduced from saline springs along the lower Jordan River or diverted from Lake Tiberias, and from irrigation return flows. Chloride concentrations are much higher during the summer when there is less dilution by rainfall.

Small sections of the Jordan River’s upper portion, near the Sea of Galilee, have been kept pristine for baptism.The most polluted area is the 60 mile downstream stretch (from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea). There are specific projects dedicated to increasing water availability and water quality in the lower Jordan River because of the sewage and lack of treatment. Therefore, when it comes to water sports and coming into contact with the water, the upper Jordan River is where you want to be.

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