(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Stakeholders of the Red-Dead Water Conveyance Project convened in The Hague on Wednesday with the financial backers of the project's ongoing studies to review their progress, a government official said yesterday.
Members of the project's steering committee, including Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel, briefed donors funding the environmental impact assessment and the economic feasibility study on the latest developments of the two studies, Adnan Zu'bi, assistant secretary general and spokesperson of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation told The Jordan Times.
"The meetings are scheduled to conclude on Thursday and participants are expected to review the initial results of the studies," he noted.
Led by the World Bank, the French company Coyne et Bellier and the British firm Environmental Resources Management are conducting the two 15 million studies, which were launched in May 2008 and are scheduled to end late this year or early 2011, according to officials.
Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Musa Jamaani, who heads the steering committee on the Jordanian side, is representing the Kingdom at the meetings in The Hague, Zu'bi added.
Amman hosted a meeting of the Red-Dead Water Conveyance Project steering committee on Tuesday, during which Jordan urged the World Bank to speed up the project's ongoing studies.
Jamaani told The Jordan Times recently that answers to primary concerns regarding the mega-project are expected to be ready within six months.
The main concerns facing experts are the impact of mixing Dead Sea water with Red Sea water, which is 10 times less saline, and damage to the area's ecosystems.
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.
Over the past two decades alone, it has plunged more than 30 metres, with experts warning that it could dry up within the next 50 years.
The project, which will alleviate pressure on renewable and nonrenewable water resources in the region by providing about 850 million cubic metres of potable water annually, entails the construction of a 200-kilometre canal from Aqaba on the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
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.
By Hana Namrouqa