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Red Sea-Dead Sea link feasible, World Bank says
Published Friday 18/01/2013 (updated) 18/01/2013 18:31
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Environmental groups blasted the report and warned of adverse effects.
(Reuters/File)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - It is possible to use the Red Sea to replenish the shrinking Dead Sea, the World Bank has determined after years of studying whether such a connecting lifeline could work.

The idea of linking the two bodies of water has been around for more than a century, but the project took on a new urgency when the shore of the Dead Sea was found to be receding at a rate of more than one meter every year.

A World Bank feasibility report published this month said an underground pipeline would be the best way to channel water from the Red Sea some 180 km north to replenish the Dead Sea, which is located at the lowest spot on earth.

Because of the water current created with the drop in elevation, it would even be possible to construct desalination and hydroelectric plants along the route, the World Bank said.

It also mentioned the options of using tunnels and canals.

Environmental groups blasted the report and warned of adverse effects, such as the chance of new algae and mineral deposits changing the color of the Dead Sea or underground fresh water springs becoming polluted with seawater.

The World Bank said it found that such negative impacts could be "mitigated and managed to an acceptable level."

The Dead Sea, technically a lake, is a tourist spot famous for its salty waters that allow bathers to float. Its mineral rich mud, used for skin treatment, is sold around the world.

But as the population increased in the region, water was diverted from the Jordan river, the Dead Sea's natural water source, for drinking and agriculture.

The shoreline has in turn shrunk at an accelerating pace, leaving behind a rocky, desert beach full of dangerous sink holes. Factories extracting minerals from the lake have also caused the shift in coastline.

The environmental group Friends of the Middle East said the World Bank study should be scrapped and called for focus to be shifted to rehabilitating the Jordan river and limiting the factories' operations.

The Red Sea-Dead Sea conduit would run through Jordan and cost about $10 billion, conveying up to 2 billion cubic meters of water a year, according the report. Projects of similar scope have been built in South Africa, Brazil and at the Central Arizona Project in the United States.

Further study and discussion among Israel, Jordan and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority -- the governments bordering the Dead Sea who in 2005 tapped the World Bank to study the concept -- before any decision is taken.

If the project is approved, it could be about 10 years before work actually begins, the World Bank said.
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1 ) Tex / Texas USA
18/01/2013 16:30
An environmental disaster in the making - no bureaucrat can predict the results. This should be avoided at all costs.

2 ) Mel / USA
18/01/2013 17:28
I think it would be multiculturally,historically,economically MORE beneficial,if the global powers END Zionism's theocratic,militarist occupation first!And,stop 'Jewish-only'apartheid Israel,from wasting/depleting the WHOLE natural aquifer/water supply regionally,while FILLING the Jordan River with Jewish-colony SEWAGE!"Lest we forget",the ONLY people allowed to bathe in the Dead Sea,are JEWS,& a few non-Jewish'guest' tourists & MOST of those"minerals"SHOULD be boycotted,as BLOOD-PRODUCTS!

3 ) Time / Out
18/01/2013 20:07
Oh Mel, why don't you zip it for a moment. They are talking about something that could bring a lot of much needed jobs to the region, and all you can do is babble on about something that doesn't even concern you in the land your ancestors stole from the Indians, only to later write a constitution proclaiming man's right to freedom, whilst prospering from slavery.

4 ) Mel / USA
18/01/2013 21:55
#3: Time/Out:With respect,as long as the radical,apartheid,bigotted military Zionist occupation of would-be theocracy Israel,is UNDERWRITTEN,WEAPONIZED & subsidized,illegally,annually,by MY US TAX BUCKS & sponsored by my "Equal Justice Under Law"Constitutional USG,which espouses a platform of tolerant democracy &pluralistic freedoms,while protecting extremists,autocrats &Zionists,then it really DOES"concern"me,on a human,economic,political,&spiritual level!"Never again" meant,to ANYONE!

5 ) kalte Lokshen / USA
19/01/2013 10:04
Mel, where do you get all your crap from? Except for blatant hatred - your comment contains not a single truth.

6 ) Mel / USA
19/01/2013 15:57
#5:kalte Lokshen/USA:No need for"hate"when my 1)informed common sense 2)good-citizen respect for international rule-of-law & 3)intellectual logic(which denialist-Zionists would call "crap"in a knee-jerk reaction),comes as part of an overwhelming GLOBAL CONSENSUS(UNGA)which recently proved thru' its majority vote,that the Zionist-Israeli-USG-sponsored ILLEGAL occupation,of Palestine,& its barbaric pillage of Arab life,land &resources,of 50years ,is ILLEGAL,must be DIVESTED from &ISOLATED! AskD.C!

7 ) Robert / US
19/01/2013 19:10
I Agree Tex.

8 ) Zoltan We LVART / usa
03/03/2014 18:06
Grow alga with mined plankton, found under dried up sea, allowing humanity to spread out productivity , to preventintential pandemic, rich hand feeding useless poor.set you up for disaster, many dont want to notice.
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