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Arabs and Israelis discuss resuscitating Dead Sea

07 Dec 2006

Source: Reuters


AMMAN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A plan to top up the shrinking Dead Sea with water from the Red Sea will be discussed on Sunday by Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel.

Officials said on Thursday the tripartite meeting on the viability of the $2-$4 billion "Two Seas Canal" project will take place on the Jordanian side of the landlocked Dead Sea.

World Bank officials will also attend to examine how to tender out a feasibility study. The project aims to reverse a 25 metre (82 ft) fall in the Dead Sea's level in the past century.

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority were committed to the 180-km (110-mile) plan despite stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the officials said.

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth's surface, has been shrinking because of increased use of water upstream from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea's main source.

France, the United States, the Netherlands and Japan have signalled their willingness to contribute to the cost of the two-year study.

Any link between the seas might include a hydro-electric plant to capitalise on the drop of about 450 metres from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

The study would also examine the possible environmental impact. The Dead Sea is too salty for all but a few salt-loving micro-organisms. It is unclear how the sea might be affected by less salty Red Sea water.


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