Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians have signed a historic water-sharing initiative at the World Bank in Washington that could protect the Dead Sea from rising demand for water in the region.
The agreement was signed by Israeli Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, Shaddad Attili, head of the Palestinian water authority, and Hazim el-Naser, head of the Jordanian water ministry.
According to the agreement- a pipeline will be built on the Jordanian side of the Aqaba Gulf to carry brine (sea water) from a desalination plant at the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, while providing drinking water to the region. The project is expected to cost 250m-400m Dollars.
The Dead Sea is dropping by as much as 1m (3.3ft) a year as the River Jordan is depleted for use in irrigation.
The Dead Sea is so rich in salt and other minerals that humans float naturally on the surface. The area around the sea has an established tourism and health industry because of the water’s unique properties. But the Dead Sea is losing water rapidly, with some fearing the Dead Sea could dry up entirely by 2050.
The scheme will pipe water from the Gulf of Aqaba off the Red Sea through a desalination plant in Jordan, sending brine to the southern-most edge of the Dead Sea. The sea water will be used to test the impact of Red Sea water being transported to the Dead Sea.
It will involve the construction of a desalination plant in Jordan, projected to yield 80 million-100 million cu m of water annually. A water transfer deal will also see Israel supply water to Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The project also expected to yield hydroelectric power for use in the desalination process.
Image credit: Hoshana, hosted at Wikipedia