Consultants named to study Dead Sea refill, possible hydro

The World Bank has named consultants to perform two studies of a project to refill the Dead Sea with water from the Red Sea and possibly desalinate water and generate hydropower.

The bank issued the solicitation at the request of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel. (HNN 7/9/07) The three governments agreed in December 2006 to proceed with a feasibility study of an estimated US$2 billion to US$4 billion project.

The bank named Coyne et Bellier of France to perform a feasibility study of the project. Other short-listed competitors were CH2M Hill of the United States, Dornier of Germany, DHV of the Netherlands, SNC Lavalin of Canada, and Tetra Tech of the U.S.

It also named Environment Resources Management of the United Kingdom to perform an environment and social study of the project. Other short-listed competitors were Fichtner of Germany, Louis Berger of the U.S., Nippon Koei of Japan, and Royal Haskoning of the Netherlands.

The project, to build a 180-kilometer �Two Seas Canal,� is intended to reverse a 25-meter decline in the level of the Dead Sea in the past century. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth’s surface, has been shrinking because of increased use of water upstream from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea’s main source.

Any link between the seas might include a hydroelectric plant to capitalize on the drop of about 450 meters from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. It was estimated a hydro plant could have capacity of 550 MW.

The environmental study is to deal with the fact the Dead Sea is too salty for all but a few salt-loving micro-organisms. It is unclear whether the sea would be affected by less salty Red Sea water.

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