Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jordan pins water hopes on controversial pipeline project

IRIN: Jordan, one of the world’s most water scarce states, is facing a “perfect storm of pressures” including chronic scarcity, over-use, waste, and a massive increase in demand caused by refugee arrivals, according to a report published this month by the NGO Mercy Corps. To add to the water stress, the country is currently undergoing its driest rainy season in decades.

One proposed solution is due to be implemented by mid-2018 following Jordan’s signing of a controversial water sharing agreement with Israel and the Palestinian authorities in December 2013 after decades of discussions.

The agreement paves the way for the long-discussed Red Sea Dead Sea Water Conveyer (RSDSWC) project, though in a much reduced form. It includes the construction of a desalination plant at the Jordanian port of Aqaba, which will desalinate 800-1,000 million cubic metres (mcm) per year shared by participating countries, and the pumping of brine to revive the Dead Sea via a 180km pipeline/canal.

According to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan will have chosen the contractor by April 2015, construction will begin at the end of 2015, and implementation will last almost 2.5 years. “With this, we will have solved Jordan’s problems at least for the next 30 years,” said Nabeel Zoubi, programme manager for the Red-Dead Sea programme at the ministry.

The plant is expected to produce at least 80 mcm every year, according to Zoubi. “Israel will buy approximately 50 mcm from Jordan at a cost of US$0.42 per cubic metre and the rest - approximately 30-40 mcm - will go to Jordan’s governorate of Aqaba,” Zoubi added....

Bab El Mandeb, South gate of the Red Sea, owner unknown, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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