Final drafts of meta-study to be ready by end of this month — source
by Hana Namrouqa | May 19, 2013 | 21:11 Updated: May 19, 2013

AMMAN — Final drafts of the meta-study on the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Programme will be ready by the end of this month, a source at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said on Sunday.

“Once the final drafts are ready, the three stakeholders will meet in June to review their results and decide on how to move forward with the project,” the source, who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press, told The Jordan Times.

The drafts, which are being prepared by the World Bank, will incorporate notes and reservations of experts and the public, following open sessions held in February at the three stakeholder countries — Jordan, Palestine and Israel.

The World Bank and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation organised in February two public consultation meetings in Amman and Aqaba, during which its experts announced the initial findings of the study programme.

The sessions gathered government officials and representatives of the World Bank and the companies that carried out the studies, along with activists and people interested in the project.

The $10 billion Red-Dead project, which the study programme refers to as the “identified option”, is part of international efforts to save the Dead Sea that 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.

Launched in 2008, the study programme involved the preparation of five interrelated studies: a feasibility study, an environmental and social assessment, a study of alternatives, a Red Sea modelling study and a Dead Sea modelling study.

The reports concluded that the Red-Dead project is environmentally and economically feasible, but left two major concerns unanswered, including securing funding for the mega-multibillion-dollar scheme and identifying the impact of mixing brine rejected from the desalination of the Red Sea water with the unique mixture of the Dead Sea.

World Bank experts said reports indicate that the Red-Dead project is feasible economically and environmentally if it is “implemented properly”, stressing that more studies need to be carried out in the future to measure the impact of mixing more than 400 million cubic metres of Red Sea water per year with the Dead Sea.