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Project Costs, Management and Alternatives

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The diagram below shows the estimated costs of the option that was recommended in the feasibility study (buried pipeline and high-level desalination plant). These costs do not cover the connection of the desalination plant to the Israeli and Palestinian transmission grids. The second figure below shows operating costs.

The following governance structure is recommended for the management of the project:

Construction costs of the recommended option (source: World Bank)
Construction costs of the recommended option (source: World Bank)

  • Intergovernmental treaty;

  • Three governmental executive committees;

  • Regulator;

  • Operating cooperation;

  • Board of directors;

  • Secretariat;

  • Contractors;

  • Engineering;

  • Project management;

  • Commercial management;

  • Services;

  • Advisory board or expert panel.

The following alternatives are presented in the Study of Alternatives Report (2012):

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Operating costs of the recommended option (Source: World Bank)

No-action alternative

The cost of the falling level of the Dead Sea has been estimated at $73-227 million/yr. The cost of producing potable water at Aqaba and transferring it to Amman is estimated at $2/m3, considerably higher than the cost of water produced through the RSDS Project (<$1.5/m3).

Restoration of the Lower Jordan River

Full restoration of the historic flow of the Jordan River (1BCM/yr) meets the first objective of saving the Dead Sea but is, at present, neither economically nor socially feasible. If, in the future, the supply of potable water increases to meet the needs of the growing population, there may be enough recycled water to restore the Lower Jordan River.

Transfer from the Mediterranean Sea

Two possible routes for the transfer of water from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea have been studied. The northern route enters the Jordan River just south of the Lake Tiberias. It is not considered feasible because of the risk of pollution of the groundwater system in this agricultural region. Of two possible southern routes, the one from Ashkelon to the northern tip of the Dead Sea was evaluated. This route intersects with groundwater resources in the Mountain Aquifer below the West Bank and is economically less viable because of the expense of the required pilot project.

Overland water transfer from Turkey

Almost 20 years ago, when the Peace Pipeline was proposed, it was assumed that there would be 2BCM/yr of water reliably available from Turkey, but Turkish officials now assert that this is no longer true. Moreover, political instability and violent conflict in the region make the viability of this option questionable.

Transfer from the Euphrates River

The transfer of reasonably high-quality water from the Euphrates River in Iraq would be technically and economically feasible, but the volume of water (60MCM/yr proposed in studies undertaken in the 1990s) would be too small to restore the Dead Sea. Political instability and violent conflict in the region also make the viability of this option questionable.

Other alternatives

Many other alternatives were considered, including desalinating water at various locations, instituting water savings in the potash industry and in agriculture, conserving and reusing water, and importing water in tankers and bags.

Gulf of Aqaba (source: Shutterstock)
Gulf of Aqaba (source: Shutterstock)