Jordan and Israel consider Red Sea canal

September 6, 2007

Israel and Jordan are revisiting a plan to divert water from the Red Sea into the ailing Dead Sea.

Scientists say if nothing is done to stop the Dead Sea from shrinking it will someday be little more than a puddle, the magazine Der Spiegel said Wednesday.

The canal, which was part of a peace treaty signed by Jordan and Israel in the 1990s, would be about 112 miles long and carry up to 1,900 million cubic meters of water into the salt lake each year, the newspaper said.

It would take about nine years and cost at least $5 billion.

The newspaper said the water level in the Dead Sea drops about three feet each year. The River Jordan, which flows into the Dead Sea, is often used up by the time it reaches there, the newspaper said. Water is also being evaporated in giant basins where factories have been built to extract minerals.

A feasibility study funded by the World Bank is to begin in December.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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