The sustainable supply of natural water available in the water basin feeding the Dead Sea (comprising of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority) will soon drop below 100 cubic metres (m3) per person per year. This has resulted from upstream diversions that over time have deprived the Dead Sea of more than 90 % of its historical inflow and led to a progressive decline of its water level with detrimental effects on the surrounding environment and infrastructure. We examine four alternatives to stabilise or restore the Dead Sea and evaluate the costs associated with each alternative. We also offer a mechanism to pay for the reclamation alternatives based on a surcharge levied on all upstream diversions (including water consumed by the potash industries). The surcharge rates associated with the four alternatives range between zero and USD 0.10 per m3. © The Author(s) 2016.