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News Jordan: to trade desalinated water with Israel

The Jordanian government on Monday said that part of the water produced by its planned Red Sea desalination project will be sold to Israel in return for nearly 50 million cubic metres of drinking water from the Tiberias reservoir annually.

During a press conference, Ensour said: “We will sell Israel water at a rate of JD1 per cubic metre and buy from them at a rate of JD0.3 per cubic metre. This process will save us the effort and cost of conveying water from the south to the northern governorates: Irbid, Jerash, Ajloun and Mafraq.”

The Cabinet on Sunday approved a recommendation by its Economic Development Committee to prepare studies and tender documents for the first phase of the project, announcing that it has decided to move ahead with the first phase of a project to desalinate Red Sea water and save the shrinking Dead Sea.

Ensour said this project, the largest undertaken since His Majesty King Abdullah’s accession to the Throne in 1999, is expected to cost around $1 billion and represents a permanent source that will address the water shortage in the Kingdom, which increases by 7 per cent annually.

Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser, who also took part in the presser, said that Jordan does not need to sign a new agreement with Israel for the water swap, noting that it is all covered by Article 2 of the peace treaty signed with Israel in 1994.

Nasser described the project as a “strategic national interest”, adding that the desalinated water would be sold to citizens at a lower rate compared with the water from the Disi water project.

Nasser noted that the ministry will float a tender before the end of the year to implement the project, which entails a conveyor to transfer seawater from the Red Sea, a desalination plant to be established in Wadi Araba and another pipeline to be built from the plant to the Dead Sea to discharge the brine, which will help save the sea from drying up.

The project will help provide a solution to two of Jordan’s most pressing concerns: reviving the shrinking Dead Sea and providing clean water to an expanding population, according to Nasser.

The plant is expected to have the capacity to desalinate 200 million cubic metres [mcm] of water and generate 400-500 job opportunities for local residents.

The new venture is expected to cost $980 million, Nasser said, adding that the government will secure $300-$400 million in grants.

Meanwhile, Nasser noted that the salt water generated in the post-desalination phase will be directed to the Dead Sea as this will help partially offset the vaporisation factor, which causes an annual drop of the Dead Sea level by nearly one metre.

“In order to fully address the drop in the sea level, the Dead Sea needs nearly 300mcm. The water pumped from the desalination project would cut the drop in the sea level by 0.1-0.15 metres. Eventually, once the Red-Dead Canal is fully completed, the Dead Sea will be receiving almost the same amount of water that vaporise every year,” the minister added, referring to a larger ambitious $11 billion project to convey water directly from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

Contact information Hani Hazaimeh, Jordan Times
News type Inbrief
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Source of information Jordan Times
Geographical coverage Jordan,Israel,
News date 22/08/2013
Working language(s) ENGLISH