Better Red than Dead? Jordan’s Proposed Peace Canal

Via Terra Daily, details on a proposed Jordanian plan to haul water from the Red Sea to replenish the Dead Sea.  As the article notes:

“…The 3.5-billion-euro (4.5-billion-dollar) “Peace Canal” is the heart of the government’s vision of slaking thirst in a country that is mostly bone-dry desert and one of the 10 driest places in the world

At present, the country’s main conduit is the 110-kilometer (68-mile) King Abdullah Canal, which brings “blue gold” down the valley of the River Jordan from a range of small rivers in the north of the country.

It irrigates around 8,000 farms and provides the capital, Amman, with its key supplies of water.

But five successive years of below-average rainfall have added significantly to the country’s water stress, fuelling fears that worse is to come when man-made climate change really bites.

In theory, 250 million cubic metres (8.8 billion cu. feet) of water are earmarked for irrigation from the canal, but this figure has been notional for several years.

“We are one of the poorest countries in the world in water resources. I am worried for the future that we will receive less quantity of water than we have now because of climate change,” said Shafig Habash, managing director of the King Abdullah Canal’s control centre in Deir Alla

…Jordan is placing its hopes on the Peace Canal, which would stabilise the Dead Sea — retreating at the rate of a metre (more than three feet) a year — by taking water from the Red Sea 180 kilometers (110 miles) away.

Although the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, is below the Red Sea, the pipeline would have to cross higher land in order to reach it, which entails a major pumping effort. En route, a desalination plant would remove the salt, providing 850 million cu. m. (29.75 billion cu. ft.) of potable water each year.

The World Bank is carrying out a feasibility study into the scheme. But even before it clears the technical hurdles and seeks to assemble a mountain of funds, the project faces enormous diplomatic problems.

It has to be approved by Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as Jordan, and thus becomes a card in the poker game of Middle East peace…”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at 7:11 pm and is filed under Dead Sea, Israel, Jordan, Jordan River.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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