10 Dec 2013

Dead Sea deal signed

11:35 am on 10 December 2013

Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan have signed an agreement designed to stop the Dead Sea drying up.

Under the agreement, a pipeline will be built to carry brine from a desalination plant at Red Sea to the Dead Sea, while providing drinking water to the region.

The BBC reports the Dead Sea is dropping by as much as 1 metre per year as the River Jordan is depleted for use in irrigation.

The agreement was signed on Monday at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC. The project is expected to cost $US250 - $US400 million.

Water from the Gulf of Aqaba off the Red Sea will be piped through a desalination plant in Jordan, sending brine to the southern-most edge of the Dead Sea.

According to World Bank officials, the brine will be used to test the impact of Red Sea water being transported to the Dead Sea.

The project will also yield hydroelectric power for use in the desalination process.

The agreement was signed by Israeli Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, Shaddad Attili, head of the Palestinian water authority, and Hazim el-Naser, head of the Jordanian water ministry.