by Hana Namrouqa | Nov 11, 2012 | 22:52

AMMAN — Results of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project’s studies are being translated into Arabic in preparation for releasing them to the public, officials said on Sunday.

The drafts of the project’s economic feasibility study and the environmental and social impact assessment will be announced soon after the results are translated into Arabic, Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Saad Abu Hammour said.

“The studies are being translated into Arabic in order for people to know what the results say before public sessions are held to receive feedback,” Abu Hammour told The Jordan Times.

The World Bank will hold six public consultation meetings in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories to receive feedback and suggestions from stakeholders on the draft results and preliminary findings of the study programme.

Comments from the public meetings will be used to finalise all the draft reports, according to the World Bank.

Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Bassem Tulfah said that two of the meetings will be held in the Kingdom.

“We are not sure when exactly the meetings will be held, but they are scheduled for the beginning of next year,” Tulfah told The Jordan Times.

The World Bank expected the public consultation meetings to be held in October this year, but ministry officials attributed the delay to technical issues related to the studies.

The project’s study programme involves the preparation of five interrelated studies: a feasibility study, an environmental and social assessment, a study of alternatives (which examines other options available to the beneficiary parties to address the degradation of the Dead Sea and the production of additional potable water by means other than the identified water conveyance option), a Red Sea modelling study and a Dead Sea modelling study.

The studies, which are led by the World Bank and implemented by international consulting companies and panels of experts in various fields, aim at giving decision makers in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority a “technical basis” for a decision on whether or not to go ahead with a project.

The Red Sea-Dead Sea 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.

Over the past two decades alone, the Dead Sea level plunged more than 30 metres, with experts warning that it could dry up within the next 50 years.

The project seeks to halt the continuous decline of the Dead Sea water level and provide potable water to the three stakeholders, according to the World Bank.