The World Bank, on behalf of regional authorities, has selected two firms to model the effects of drawing large amounts of seawater from the Gulf of Aqaba to refill the Dead Sea and possibly generate hydropower.
Thetis S.p.A. of Italy won a US$1.35 million contract, and Tahal Consulting Engineering of Israel won a US$1.49 million contract. The contracts are for mathematical modeling of the effects of a proposed canal to refill the Dead Sea from the Red Sea. Proposals for the canal have included a possible hydro project.
On behalf of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the bank previously named Coyne et Bellier of France to perform a feasibility study of the project. 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 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. France, the United States, the Netherlands and Japan have signaled their willingness to contribute to the cost of the two-year study.
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 a capacity of 550 megawatts.
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