The Red-Dead Sea Pipeline Surges Forward

Significance of Canals

Canals are human-made channels for water supply, or to service water vehicles. Historically, canals were of paramount importance to commerce and the development, but in the case of this project, its sole purpose is to deliver water.

Dead Sea Project

Officially given the green light before the end of the year, the $10-billion Red Sea-Dead Sea project will witness the joining of two oceans in the Middle East to transport millions of cubic meters of seawater. Is it possible for the 180-kilometer pipeline and the world’s biggest desalination plant to deliver peace across the two regions?

Moses needed a miracle in order to part the waters of the Red Sea. However, as if to put forward evidence that divine intervention as such is not always required; the proposed project seeks to bring together Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian authorities.

The historic signing between the authorities received its official seal of approval through the World Bank just a few weeks before the year ended, and has been suggesting the solution to Jordan’s wager deficit and the Dead Sea’s ongoing environmental collapse.

The project is intended to construct a 180-km pipeline that will channel two billion cubic meters of seawater every year from the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea through Jordanian territory to the Red Sea.

In fact, the concept of connecting the two seas through a canal is nothing new. Back in the late 19th century, planners had ideas on how to use the Jordan River for irrigation and to deliver water to the Dead Sea. But like many projects in the Middle East and much gossip of helping the Dead Sea recover, nothing ended up proceeding. There were more chances of bagging multiple prizes alongside Spin Palace Casino than the proposed projects happening, which was a real shame back then.

World’s Biggest Desalination Plant

The project’s preferred method for importing enough water from the Red Sea is to create a pumping station near Aqaba—pump it to a high point—and then let it flow with the help of pipelines and tunnels to the area south of the Dead Sea.

And where the world’s largest desalination plant would be accordingly erected with a view to transporting almost half a billion cubic meters of desalinated water to Jordan.

The plant would hold 320 million cubic meters per year initially, rising to 850 cubic meters by the estimated year 2060. It would require 247 MW of power in 2020 and 556 MW in 2060. Meanwhile, the post-desalination high-salinity water would pass through the pipes all the way to the Dead Sea with a view to halting, and eventually reversing, its depletion. Moreover, a hydroelectric plant would be built, supplying fresh electricity to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.