3 Dec 2013
The Red Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project: An Opportunity for Regional Cooperation and Improved Water Management in the Jordan River Basin?
Presentation given by Valerie Yorke
The Dead Sea is presently undergoing serious environmental damages. The excessive use of water from the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers for agricultural and industrial purposes of the riparian states has reduced its water level by more than 30 meters over the past fifty years. Since more water is withdrawn than renewed, the water level is currently dropping at a rate of about one metre per
year. Damages of the decline include the loss of freshwater springs, occurrence of sinkholes and river bed erosion. Without countermeasures, more severe environmental, cultural, and economic damage is expected. As part of international efforts to save the Dead Sea, the transfer of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea – referred to as the “Red Sea-Dead Sea (RSDS) Water Conveyance Project” – has been proposed. In 2005, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority agreed to study the feasibility of such a water conduit, which would also allow for the desalination of water and generation of hydroelectricity. Recently, the World Bank has published a series of studies regarding the planned RSDS project, including a feasibility study giving a positive assessment of the project.