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JRSP tendering process begins — Jamani
Reported by Hana Namrouqa | Dec 21,2011 | 00:21
AMMAN — The tendering process for the Jordan Red Sea Project (JRSP) has begun, a senior government official said on Tuesday, announcing that the mega-venture has been linked to a regional water security project.
The JRSP, a Jordanian proposal to solve the country’s chronic water shortage, will be the first phase of the World Bank-led Red-Dead Project, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mousa Jamani said yesterday.
“The Red-Dead Project is costly; therefore, it will be carried out in phases. The tendering process of the JRSP has started and a committee to oversee procedures is being formed,” he told reporters during a press conference.
Asked whether the World Bank has approved considering the JRSP as the first phase of the Red-Dead Project, Jamani said that since the two projects have similar goals, the World Bank would not object.
However, in a report posted last week on the World Bank’s website, the international organisation said that the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Programme “is distinct and separate from other schemes currently under discussion by some of the governments interested in the Dead Sea”.
The World Bank listed the JRSP and a unilateral Israeli initiative called the “Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal” as projects that include extensive real estate and tourism development but are not related to its study programme.
The ministry plans to start implementing the JRSP project as soon as possible to begin drawing water from it by 2022, Jamani said.
Under the first phase of the project, announced during the World Economic Forum in 2009, water will be conveyed from the Red Sea through pipelines to a desalination facility that will be built in Aqaba. Water generated from the plant will be distributed to the port city and surrounding development projects.
The project entails extracting 2,150mcm of water from the Red Sea every year; 930mcm will be desalinated and 1,220mcm will be channelled into the shrinking Dead Sea. In addition, 180 megawatts of electricity will be generated by projected hydropower stations.
In addition to providing much needed water, the JRSP includes an economic development programme that entails the establishment of gated communities, resorts, industries and other projects, according to the ministry.
The minister also announced that the results of a feasibility and impact study for the Red-Dead Project, the preliminary results of which were posted on the World Bank’s website last week, will be published within the next two months.
“By mid-February next year, the results of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Programme will be announced to the public. Generally speaking, the results are positive, although there are some manageable impacts,” Jamani noted.
He added that once out, the results of the study programme will give the go-ahead for beneficiaries to start the project’s tendering and implementation processes.
The study programme involved the preparation of five interrelated studies: a feasibility study, an environmental and social assessment, a study of alternatives (which examines other options available to the beneficiary parties to address the degradation of the Dead Sea and the production of additional potable water by means other than the identified water conveyance option), a Red Sea modelling study and a Dead Sea modelling study.
Preliminary results of the study programme showed that a large-scale conveyance of seawater from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea is technically possible, but might entail risks as well as environmental and social impacts, according to the World Bank.
The estimated cost of a full-scale conveyance project, including the pipes that would carry water to urban centres, would exceed $10 billion, the organisation said.
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