Gulf & Middle East
World Bank bids for Red Sea-Dead Sea canal study
Apr 5, 2007 - 12:38:17 PM

Amman, April 5 - The World Bank has invited global companies to bid for a feasibility study to examine environmental and social impacts of the $5-billion Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance project on surrounding countries, officials said Thursday.

'The overall objective of the $15.5-million study is to evaluate the conveyance of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea as a way to address environmental degradation of the Dead Sea region,' according to the project's statement.

The three littoral states - Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority - have placed advertisements in major local dailies inviting interested firms to present their offers.

Divided into two sections, the study focuses on the environmental and social impacts as well as the overall feasibility of the proposed canal. Companies will be allowed to bid for the whole study or just one part.

The firm that wins the bid will also be required to examine the possibility of seawater desalination and energy production.

The World Bank said the winning company should submit its report within two years. The eventual construction of the canal is expected to cost around $5 billion, officials said.

The Red-Dead project is part of an international effort to save the Dead Sea, the level of which has been dropping at a rate of 1 meter per year, largely due to diversion of water from river Jordan for agricultural and industrial use.

During the past 20 years alone, it has plunged more than 30 metres, prompting experts to warn that it could dry up within 50 years.

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