By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Despite the delay in the implementation of the Disi Water Conveyance Project, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar on Sunday said the venture will be completed on its due date in early 2013.

“There is a delay in the implementation of the Disi project in terms of digging the trenches and laying down the pipes. However, all the designs are being completed according to schedule and the pipes are arriving from Turkey on time,” Najjar said at a press conference yesterday.

The minister did not specify the reasons behind the delay, noting that “all mega-projects witness delays”.

The project, which entails the construction of a 325-kilometre pipeline to convey 107 million cubic metres of water annually from the ancient Disi aquifer in southern Jordan to Amman, is being carried out on a build-operate-transfer basis by Turkish company GAMA.

The pipeline passes through several water stations in Maan, Tafileh, Karak and Madaba.

The project went into effect in June 2009 after the financial closure was signed, with the price of one cubic metre of water generated by the project estimated at JD0.74.

Water officials have described the Disi project as “Jordan’s first step towards achieving water security”.


Meanwhile, Najjar noted that the master developer of the Referring the Jordan Red Sea Project (JRSP) will be selected at the end of the year.

Major firms from several countries showed interest in undertaking the project, he said, noting that during a meeting at the Dead Sea last week, representatives of these companies requested extending the date of submission of the project’s qualification documents.

“The deadline was originally in February but we have extended it to March 1. Later, the companies will receive the project’s tender documents to study and the master developer will be selected at the end of the year,” Najjar told reporters.

The JRSP, to be implemented in five phases, aims to address the country’s severe water shortage by providing 120 million cubic metres (mcm) of water per year in its first phase and expanding to 700mcm annually in later phases.

The first phase entails conveying water from the Red Sea through pipelines to a desalination facility that will be built in Aqaba. Water generated from the plant will be distributed to Aqaba and development projects in the area.

Red-Dead project

Meanwhile, Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Saad Abu Hammour said yesterday that stakeholders of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Programme (Red-Dead project) are scheduled to convene in Israel on January 20 to review progress.

Representatives of the three beneficiary governments (Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel) as well as World Bank experts, are expected to meet with representatives of companies carrying out the project’s economic feasibility study, and environmental and social impact assessment, he told reporters.

“The meeting will take place in Eilat. We will review initial results of the studies which are almost complete,” the JVA official said.

The feasibility study and the environmental and social impact assessment were launched in May 2008.

In early 2010, a study was launched to evaluate and compare strategic alternatives to preserve the shrinking Dead Sea and augment the water supply to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In addition, the Red Sea Modelling Study explores the impact of the Red-Dead project on the physical, chemical and biological make-up of the Red Sea, while the Dead Sea Modelling Study examines the impact of the scheme on the Dead Sea and water quality, according to the World Bank.

Results of the World Bank-led studies, expected to be released in March, will determine whether and how the project will proceed, according to officials.

The Red-Dead project is part of international efforts to save the Dead Sea, which has been shrinking at the rate of one metre per year, largely due to the diversion of water from the Jordan River for agricultural and industrial use.

The project seeks to pump one billion cubic metres of water annually, with the aim of raising water levels in the shrinking lake from 408 metres to 315 metres below sea level.