Deal Signed To Replenish Dead Sea
From The Washington Post:
On Monday, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority agreed on an ambitious plan to begin refilling the ancient salt lake with briny water pumped from the Red Sea — and relieve local shortages of fresh water at the same time.
In the first stage of what could become a massive joint initiative, private investors will be asked to finance construction of a large desalination plant in Jordan, on the Gulf of Aqaba. The plant would suck billions of gallons from the Red Sea and convert it to drinking water that would be shared by Israel and Jordan. Israel, in turn, would increase the amount of water it sells to the Palestinian Authority by as much as 30 million cubic meters a year.
Billions of gallons of “reject brine” — essentially, super-salty water created by the desalination process — would be pumped via a new, 100-mile pipeline and discharged into the Dead Sea, in quantities hoped to be large enough to buy some time and slow the lake’s disappearance.
Much about the project remains to be worked out. Bids from private investors will be solicited next year, with estimated construction costs for the plant and pipeline running anywhere from $500 million to about $1 billion. The sensitive issue of fees for the water and the exact routing of the pipeline remain to be negotiated.
The first drop of brine would probably not be deposited into the Dead Sea before 2017.
Such a project has been discussed for many years, but this is the first agreement that I am aware has been signed. The Washington Post includes more details, background, and a map of the area. For more general info and photos on the Dead Sea, see this page.
View of Dead Sea from approximate level of water 100 years ago
Photo from Judah and the Dead Sea
Labels: Dead Sea