Jordan picks international consortiums for Red Sea-Dead Sea water project
AMMAN, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) — Five international consortiums have been chosen to implement and fund the first phase of Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project (Red-Dead), according to a statement from the Water and Irrigation Ministry of Jordan on Monday.
The ministry said in the statement that the five shortlisted consortiums, picked out of 17 international alliances comprising 60 companies, include 20 companies from China, France, Singapore, Canada, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Spain.
The Red-Dead project is a leading strategic project on a national and regional scale for its potential to provide drinking water and water for other uses, preserve the Dead Sea and generate electric power.
Phase One of the $1.1-billion project comprises the installation of a desalination plant north of Aqaba, Jordan’s coastal city, with a capacity of 80-100 million cubic metres per year of desalinated water, while the resulting brine will flow to the Dead Sea to help reduce its degradation.
According to the ministry, the first stage will start in the first quarter of 2018 and end in the last quarter of 2020, which will give the ministry the chance to start a number of touristic and industrial projects in the adjacent valley area.
In December of 2013, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a water-sharing deal, which made the project much closer to reality.
The Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world, is at the edge of drying out since Israel, Jordan and Syria began to divert water from the Jordan River, the main source for the Dead Sea, in the 1960s.
Water is a rare resource in Jordan, where 92 percent of the land is desert. The country is home to around seven million people and the population is growing with an influx of refugees from Syria.