On 30 November, Israel and Jordan announced the issuing of an international tender for the construction of a water canal between the Red Sea and the shrinking Dead Sea.
The two countries made their joint announcement following a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Shalom and Jordanian Water and Irrigation Minister El-Nasser. The meeting was held on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.
The canal will carry water from the Red Sea north to the Dead Sea, which has been steadily drying out.
A fixed amount of canal water will be siphoned off and desalinated to supply drinking water to Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians, with the saline byproducts used to replenish the mineral-rich Dead Sea.
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and Jordanian Water Minister Hazim Nasser announced the release of the $800 million tender and noted they are seeking a company to construct the canal and operate it for 25 years.
The project will be funded and supported by the World Bank, the US and several European countries.The pipeline will take some four or five years to complete. It will be 180 kilometers long and will pass through Jordanian territory, carrying around 200 million cubic meters of seawater from the Red Sea per annum.
A desalination plant in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, across the gulf from the Israeli resort town of Eilat, will produce the drinking water. Israel will receive around 30-50 million cubic meters of potable water, which will go to Eilat and communities in the arid Arava region, while Jordan will use 30 million cubic meters for its own southern areas. One hundred million cubic meters of the highly saline byproduct of the process will be piped north to the Dead Sea to replenish the lake, whose level has dipped precariously in recent decades.