Friday, March 20, 2009

The Red Sea might save the Dead Sea

Douglas Hamilton writes in Reuters: Abundant water from the Red Sea could replenish the shrinking Dead Sea if Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians decide to commission a tunnel north through the Jordanian desert from the Gulf of Aqaba.

The Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance project would supply the biggest desalination plant in the world, running on its own hydro-electric power and providing Jordan with enough water for the next 40-50 years. Israel and the Palestinian West Bank would also benefit. A decision on whether to go ahead could come by the end of next year and the likely cost would be in the region of 7 billion dollars.

"The idea of linking the Red Sea and the Dead Sea was first suggested by a British military engineer in the 1880s. That was for hydro-power. But the drivers today are water supply and saving the Dead Sea," said engineer David Meehan , who leads the study team for French consultants Coyne et Bellier. "Technically and engineering-wise it was always going to be feasible," he told Reuters. "But there are some major issues that could determine its feasibility ultimately."

… The main concerns are the effects on marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba of the extraction of such large volumes of water, the effects of that water mixing with the Dead Sea, and the funding of the project, said Meehan. In addition, Israel has concerns about potential leakage polluting valuable freshwater aquifers in a desert region where it has developed world-leading techniques for cultivation, and "environmentalists don't like the idea of canals which cut off wildlife migration."

The Palestinians have not even asked formally for a share of the desalinated water, he said, possibly because they do not want to prejudice their existing claims to mountain aquifers" supplying the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley. "None of these issues can be separated from politics," he said, although both Jordan and Israel say they could go it alone. But that could involve a dispute in international law and funding would become scarce….

Salt covered stones in the Dead Sea, shot by xta11

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I pray this happens. Save It!