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close this bookCentral Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral, and Dead Seas (UNU, 1998, 203 pages)
close this folderPart IV: The Dead Sea
close this folder11. Alternative strategies in the inter-state regional development of the Jordan Rift Valley
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCanal schemes for co-generation
View the documentThe Peace Drainage Canal scheme and eco-political decision-making
View the documentThe Aqaba hybrid scheme
View the documentTechno-political assessment of the Peace Drainage Canal and the Med/Red-Dead Sea canal
View the documentConclusion
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentReferences

Techno-political assessment of the Peace Drainage Canal and the Med/Red-Dead Sea canal

The water budget of the Dead Sea indicates that a decrease of inflow from the Jordan River catchment would result in the additional introduction of Mediterranean water, thereby increasing the system's hydro-potential energy. Without the Med/Red-Dead Sea Canal project, the Dead Sea will continue to drop in level and shrink in size (see table 11.4). Although not much wildlife is being affected (except for bacteria, the Dead Sea is appropriately named), potash works and health resorts on both shores will continue to contend with the costs of an increasingly distant shoreline. One clear environmental benefit of the project would be the restoration of the Dead Sea to its historical level.

The Declaration of Principles between Israel and the PLO on 13 September 1993 would suggest that the best priority project is to connect the Mediterranean Sea (Gaze) and the Dead Sea by a series of canals and a tunnel conduit with a total length of 100 km. The original idea of the Med-Dead Sea (MDS) Canal scheme was conceived in a feasibility study by Israel in 1980 to elaborate the best alternative of 27 optional routes (WPDC, 1980). The trilateral economic committee (Jordan, Israel, and the World Bank) on the integrated development of the Jordan Valley elaborated some new ideas on the Red-Dead Sea Canal in 1994 (World Bank, 1994). Their canal route has a length of 200 km. The original idea was examined by Jordan in 1981 (JVA, 1981; WPDC, 1983). Either of these two strategic options would be a confidence-building measure in the Dead Sea region to supply peak hydroelectricity with or without a supply of fresh potable water by hydro-powered reverse osmosis desalination (Murakami, 1991, 1995; WPDC, 1989).

Table 11.4 Approximate water budget of the Dead Sea with non-conventional techno-political alternative schemes (MCM/yr)


Before 1948

After 1967

Plus MDS

Plus MDS+PDC

Ground elevation below sealevel (m)

-391a

-406

-391

-392

Surface area of the Dead Sea (km2)

1,000

900

1,000

1,000

Annual flow potential from the whole catchment

1,600

1,600

1,600

1,600

Inflow from catchment of the Jordan River

1,100

400

224b

211b

Inflow from catchment of the Dead Sea

500

400

223b

211b

Abstraction of flow from the whole catchment

nil

800

1,153b

1,178b

Evaporation from the Dead Sea surface

-1,600

-1,500



Evaporation after impounding sea water from Mediterranean



-1,900

- 1,900

Tailrace water from MDS hydropower station



1,220

1,220

Brine reject water from RO plant in MDS



233

233

Brine reject water from RO plant in PDC




25

Inflow potential from the whole catchment

1,600

800

447b

422b

Flow balance

0

-700

0

0

a. The historical equilibrium water level of the Dead Sea before 1930-1948 had been -391m. It will take several decades to fill up the Dead Sea to its historical equilibrium level with sea water at 1,600-2,000 MCM.

b. Some residual flows from the catchment that could be developed at future stages.

The reverse osmosis desalination in the Peace Drainage Canal scheme would also substantially reduce discharges into the Dead Sea. This could add 10 MW of hydro potential (60 million kWh per year of electricity) if the Med-Dead Canal or the Red-Dead Canal is incorporated in the integrated development plan.

A techno-political assessment of non-conventional strategic alternatives, comparing the implications of the "Treaty of Peace" before and after 26 October 1994, is shown in table 11.5 (Wolf and Murakami, 1994). The priority projects of the Peace Drainage Canal, the Aqaba hybrid sea-water pumped-storage scheme, and the MDS Canal for co-generation should be integrated into a strategic master plan for the development of the Jordan Rift Valley.