by Hana Namrouqa | Mar 08,2012 | 22:35

AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is evaluating the technical and financial offers of two consortia competing to serve as the master developer of the Jordan Red Sea Project (JRSP), a ministry official said Thursday.

A technical committee received the technical and financial offers from the two consortia last month during a business trip to the US, Ministry of Water and Irrigation Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary General Adnan Zu’bi said yesterday.

“The ministry will announce the name of the winning consortium to serve as master developer of the mega-project later this year, likely in November,” Zu’bi told The Jordan Times.

Last month, the ministry said it will develop a plan to implement the first phase of the project in June.

In the first phase of the project, announced during the World Economic Forum in 2009, water will be conveyed 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 surrounding development projects.

The project ultimately entails extracting 1.2 billion cubic metres of water from the Red Sea every year; 930 million cubic metres will be desalinated and the rest will be channelled into the shrinking Dead Sea. In addition, 180 megawatts of electricity will be generated by projected hydropower stations.

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

The Kingdom, which is categorised as the fourth poorest nation in the world in terms of water availability, suffers an annual water deficit of 500 million cubic metres.

An arid country, more than 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s land area receives less than 100mm of rainfall annually. Consequently, water is the most critical natural resource, as virtually all aspects of sustainable economic, social and political development in the country depend on the availability of an adequate water supply, according to experts in the field.–to-manage-red-sea-project