Jordan has started qualifying the top five global coalitions to start – early next year – the implementation of the “National Carrier” project to desalinate the Red Sea water from the city of Aqaba in the south, and transfer it to the governorates of the Kingdom in the north, with quantities ranging between 250 and 300 million cubic meters, and at a cost of one billion dollars in its first phase. .
The implementation of the national carrier project comes after Jordan turned the page on the “Bahrain Regional Carrier” project in partnership with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which for a decade constituted an important strategic project, and hopes were pinned on it to save the Kingdom from its drinking water problems. Read also The “Bahrain Canal” project angers environmentalists “Bahrain Channel”…Israeli procrastination and Jordanian alternatives “Bahrain Canal”… Saving the Dead Sea or Israel? It is a unique phenomenon in the world… Will Jordan lose the Dead Sea?
It is a project that Jordan has always dreamed of implementing, especially after signing an international agreement between the parties to start implementing the first phase of the project during 2015, with the presence and support of the United States and the World Bank, but the project did not see the light, and remained trapped in the papers and plans that had been drawn.
Jordan’s official announcement of abandoning the implementation of the Bahrain conveyor project came after “Israel’s decade-long intransigence and procrastination, due to the presence of many water alternatives in the hands of the Israelis, unlike Jordan’s situation,” according to an official source.
The matter went beyond that, according to the source, due to “Israeli pressure on the World Bank to remove the project from its work agenda.” The World Bank Group announced within the framework of the World Bank Group’s Qatar Partnership for Jordan for the fiscal years 2017-2022; The regional water project (Red Sea-Dead Sea Project), which was developed at the beginning of the Qatar Partnership Framework period, is no longer among the projects intended to be implemented, and the reason for this is the lack of governmental agreement on the project’s parameters.
The idea of the project is to link the Red Sea in the south and the Dead Sea in the north by a canal, in order to raise the level of the Dead Sea from the water that is declining at a rate of one meter per year due to evaporation, and at a rate of up to 200 million cubic meters annually, and to save 85 million cubic meters of desalinated water. Jordan annually, and a project to generate electricity.
The search for alternatives
The faltering implementation of the Bahrain tanker project prompted the Jordanian authorities to search for a new national carrier project to secure the necessary and necessary quantities of water for local consumption. The local alternative was the “national carrier project to desalinate the Red Sea water in the south and transfer it to the governorates of the Kingdom in the north.”
The Secretary-General of the Water Authority, Ahmed Alimat, considered the national carrier project “a strategic option and a permanent solution to the problem of the aggravating water deficit in the Kingdom. The project will provide 350 million cubic meters of desalinated water, after the establishment of huge desalination plants on the shore of the coastal city of Aqaba, and stations for transporting and pumping water to the governorates of the Kingdom in the north.” .
He continued – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – that the project will be implemented “in the building, operate and transfer of ownership (BOT) system in partnership with the private sector, and will provide in its first phase 130 million cubic meters, up to its maximum capacity of 350 million cubic meters, according to the best Specifications
The capital value of the project in its phases is estimated between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars, and a meter of desalinated water will be sold at a price of 35 to 37 piasters (50 cents) at the site, reaching Amman by about 70 piasters (one dollar). to neighboring countries, according to the instructions.
Jordan suffers from an annual water deficit estimated at 400 million cubic meters annually, in addition to the effects of climate change and a decline in rainfall. It is expected that the quantities of desalinated water will begin to flow into the northern governorates of the Kingdom in the first phase between 2025 and 2026.
In front of the cost of the national carrier project, which amounts to about two billion dollars, in light of the public debt recorded until the end of last February, an increase of 33.3 billion dinars (47 billion dollars); Experts question Jordan’s ability to implement the project, in addition to the narrow coastal strip of the city of Aqaba overlooking the Red Sea, which is about 30 kilometers long.
Representative Moussa Hantash, an expert in the field of water and soil, pointed to a number of available and quick-implemented alternatives, and the availability of the quantities of water to be secured from the national carrier project. Between 48 and 80% in the governorates of the Kingdom, according to Hantash.
Hantash added to Al Jazeera Net that one of the alternatives is to “dig 1,500 wells in the northern and southern Jordan Valley regions, which save about 100 million cubic meters, according to international studies, and at a low cost compared to the Bahrain carrier, with the need for a better investment of the waters of the Azraq area (east of Jordan), and the transfer of the Euphrates River water from Iraq to Jordan.