Israel and Jordan’s Aim to Refresh the Dead Sea

The ‘Peace Cana’ seeks to create a link between the Dead Sea with the Red Sea. As of the moment at least, it is currently in the works.

A technical cooperation between Jordan, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) agreed in May 2016, opened the way for three programs of study to be carried out on the economic and financial implications and the environmental and social effects of the project. The scheme is vital to secure water supply for Jordan and the rest of the region, while at the same time counteract damage to the Dead Sea’s environment.

It all began with an idea that proposed to use the 417 meter’s difference in elevation between the seas to deliver water to the Dead Sea. The latter’s level is dropping by an average of eight centimeters every month. It clearly yearns for more water to nurse it back on its feet.

Concerns

A research officer at the Foundation pour la Recherche Strategique (FRS), sees it as merely one more scheme rather than working on water management; the ONG Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) has raised awareness over the influx from the Red Sea amplifying the chances of depletion of the Dead Sea’s waters.

On the other hand, social and economic factors, such as the prohibitive cost of safe drinking water for the Palestinian and Jordanian population are also concerns of the involved parties. The biggest beneficiaries from the canal will be the involved companies holding the contracts, which is more than enough to erect a real-life Titan Casino.

Finally, political aspects are also in question since the project will not cover the issue of the Palestinians’ right to water.

Flexible Budget

The project overshadows the geopolitical situation. What better symbol could there be in this unstable region than that of Israel donating drinking water to its neighboring nations? Indeed, it’s only fair, since the Dead Sea’s falling levels are consistent, undeniable, is as much due to Israel’s pumping of water from the Jordan River, the sea’s main tributary, as it to climate change. In February 2015, the two nations signed the Seas Canal Agreement, one highlighted to be as historic and the most importance since the peace treaty with Jordan.

It requires a 200km-ling pipeline that would take water from the Red Sea and release it into the Dead Sea. An estimated total of 200 million cubic centimeters would be pumped each year, of which over half would go into the Dead Sea and the remaining sent for desalination at a plant to be erected at Aqaba, Jordan. The desalinated water would be dispersed across Southern Jordan and Eilat in Israel’s arid Arava region.

Starting 2070, this volume would then gradually increase. Two hydro-electric power stations would also tap into the network.

In December 2015, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan issues a call to support the project, valued at $1-billion for the initial construction and $10-billion in total—a steep bill that the World Bank has generously agreed to cover in part.

Construction of the pipeline is scheduled to begin in 2018.