AMMAN: Jordan said yesterday it plans to build parts of a project linking the Red Sea to the shrinking Dead Sea that would supply the parched country with desalinated water.
Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur said the $980-million project is designed to provide Jordan with 100 million cubic metres of water a year.
“The government has approved the project after years of technical, political, economic and geological studies,” Nsur told a news conference.
Under the plan, Jordan will draw water from the Gulf of Aqaba at the northern end of the Red Sea to the nearby Risheh Height, where a desalination plant is to be built to treat water.
“The desalinated water will go south to Aqaba, while salt water will be pumped to the Dead Sea,” Nsur said. The Dead Sea, the world’s lowest and saltiest body of water, is on course to dry out by 2050. The degradation of the Dead Sea started in the 1960s when Israel, Jordan and Syria began to divert water from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea’s main supplier.
However, environmentalists fear that an influx of seawater could undermine the Dead Sea’s fragile ecosystem.
“We are thinking of selling desalinated water to Israel and buying water from Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee),” he said.
The prime minister said Jordan wanted water to supply its southern regions, while Israel also needs water in the south. AFP