The Red Sea-Dead Sea Project made significant progress on Monday, as potential donors met with Israeli and Jordanian officials under the aegis of the United States and the World Bank in the Jordanian port of Aqaba.
A timetable was presented for implementation of the $800-million project that will supply water to both countries, as well as increase the flow of water into the Dead Sea, which has been suffering a severe depletion.
The initial phase of the plan involves constructing a 65-million cubic meter desalination plant in Aqaba, from which Jordan will use 30 MCM annually and Israel will be able to purchase 35 MCM to convey to its desert south. Once that plant is expanded to 85 MCM, Israel will be able to buy 50 MCM from the facility.
In return for Israel’s southern allowances, Jordan will be able to buy an additional 50 MCM of Lake Kinneret water from Israel annually, roughly doubling its current allocation and serving its northern population.
In December 2013, American officials signed a pledge of $100 million toward financing of the project, as a token of the importance Washington attaches to its completion.
In recent days, some 94 companies from around the world participated in a tender for financing of the project, further indication of the broad interest in the regional undertaking.
Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayub Kara hailed it as “the most significant cooperative civilian project between Israel and Jordan that promises to improve the lives of the peoples of the region. In view of this, it is fitting that the international community invest in it.”