By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Ministry of Water and Irrigation on Wednesday announced names of qualifying consortia to serve as master developer of the Jordan Red Sea Project (JRSP).

Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar, head of the JRSP steering committee, said six consortia, which include local and international companies, qualified to serve as master developer of the mega-project that which to address the country’s severe water shortage.

The six are Accionna-Mitsubishi, ACWA Power, Jordan Red Sea Group, Orascom Construction Industries, Samsung C&T Corporation and Sinohydro Corporation Limited.

“The qualifying groups will receive the project’s tender documents today and will be given the opportunity to submit their offers until September. The offers will be evaluated and the best will be selected to serve as the master developer of the JRSP,” Najjar said in a statement released by the ministry.

Nine consortia submitted documents for implementing this vital water project, Najjar said, highlighting that the selected groups are from different countries.

Under the first phase of the JRSP, to be implemented in five stages, 210 million cubic metres (mcm) of water will be desalinated by 2018, 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 the port city and development projects in the area.

The project entails extracting 2,150mcm of water from the Red Sea every year; 930mcm will be desalinated and 1,220mcm will be channelled into the shrinking Dead Sea, in addition to generating 180 megawatts of electricity from projected hydropower stations.

The aim of the project is to secure an affordable water supply for Jordan while saving the Dead Sea from extinction and supporting widespread economic growth, according to Ministry of Water and Irrigation officials.

In addition to providing much needed water to the country, the JRSP entails an economic development programme that includes the establishment of gated communities, resorts and industries among other projects, according to the ministry.