Dead Sea

Dead Sea (Photo credit: sharnik)

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority on Monday signed in Washington an agreement to build a long-anticipated pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, as part of a project to produce 100 millions of cubic meters of drinking water a year for the region and slake the critically dwindling Dead Sea.


The agreement was signed during a ceremony at the World Bank in Washington.


The project, known as the Two Seas Canal, will include a seawater desalination plant in Aqaba, the fresh water from which the parties will share.


“This is a historic measure, a breakthrough which realizes a dream of many years and the dream of Herzl. It is nothing less than a historic move. We have here politically important strategic cooperation between that Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority,” Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom said.


He added, “I am pleased that an investment of years has reached its hoped-for conclusion and will benefit Israel and the residents of the region as a whole. The other goals of this project are the generation of electricity by utilizing the difference in elevation between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and the development of tourism infrastructures.”


Silvan signed the agreement with the Palestinian Authority’s minister in charge of water issues, Shaddad Attili, and Jordanian Water Minister Hazem Nasse.


He particularly noted the economic aspects of obtaining cheap water, the environmental aspect of “saving the Dead Sea,” and diplomatic aspects of signing a deal as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority appear to make no progress.


Under the agreement, water will be drawn from the Gulf of Aqaba off of Eilat in Israel’s south. Some will be desalinated and distributed to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians, while the rest will be transferred in four pipes to the Dead Sea.


Estimates say the Dead Sea is on pace to dry out by 2050. The surface of the Dead Sea lies some 427 meters (1,400 feet) below sea level, and water would naturally flow to it from the Red Sea.


Shalom said that following the signing, “an international tender will be issued for the entire project — building the desalination plant in Aqaba and laying the first of the four pipes.” Within a year, international tenders will be published for the construction of the pipeline in Jordanian territory along the Arava valley.


The project will be completed in four to five years, the report said. The Red Sea-Dead Sea canal is expected to cost $250-$400 million, to be raised from donor countries and philanthropic sources as well as a cash injection from the World Bank, the report said.


source: EIPA




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