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April 12 Meeting

April 12, 2005, Organizational Meeting

Tel Aviv, Israel
April 12, 2005
Speaker: Randolph Gonce
Design Concepts Engineer
Dead Sea Water Project


Thank you for coming to this meeting. Our purpose is to explore the organization of a global consortium to design, build, and operate the Dead Sea Water Project. This project offers a remarkable opportunity to do good while making money.

There is much interest around the world both to save the Dead Sea, and to supply abundant potable water for the region. The drying of the Dead Sea offers this possibility because, while filling the Dead Sea to the desired elevation of 400 meters below sea level, we can generate the sale of two billion dollars worth of electric energy for use during the time of peak electric energy demand each day. The projected gross income of several billion dollars during the first five years of operation makes this project very attractive to investors.

Saving the Dead Sea, and providing an abundant supply of water for the region should make the project attractive to all the involved governments.

The most urgent need for moving the project forward is the formation of a viable organization for the purpose of submitting a basic proposal for the project. Currently the Word Bank, at the request of Israel and Jordan, is exploring the possibilities for a Dead Sea water project. The primary object of the study is the Jordanian proposal for a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea that will stabilize the Dead Sea level and supply some desalinated water for Jordan.

Officials of the World Bank have assured me that all viable alternatives to the Red-Dead Conveyance will be considered. For a plan to be considered, it must be submitted by an organization with the ability to organize construction of the project. That is why we are gathered here today, to attempt the organization of the Dead Sea Joint Venture that will submit its plan for the project for consideration as a viable alternative to the Red-Dead Conveyance.

Basic Design Concepts

The proposed design for the Dead Sea Water Project is for a below sea level bored tunnel, smooth bore concrete segment lined to produce an inside diameter of at least ten meters, constructed on a one in one thousand grade, to supply a maximum flow rate of approximately 400 cubic meters per second. This translates to a possible flow rate of twelve billion cubic meters per year, and twelve hundred fifty megawatts hydroelectric capacity.

Using gravity flow is the most energy efficient design for the project, and it saves several hundred million dollars in construction cost by eliminating the intake pumping station and storage reservoir.

Desalination can be provided by mechanical vapor compression distillation process, by reverse osmosis, or by a combination of the two methods. Desalination capacity should be added in stages to match the market demand for water at the available price. Once the Dead Sea is filled to the desirable level, brine from desalination should be near the density of the Dead Sea water, and should be returned to the north end of the Dead Sea to minimize the problem of mixing the water supply for the potash mining operations at the south end of the Dead Sea.

The hydroelectric generators and the desalination plant will be located near the Dead Sea, with a canal to the Dead Sea for the Med Sea water that passes through the turbine generators. Four pipelines of 5.5-meter diameter will connect the tunnel transition with the turbine generators and the desalination plant.

Brine from the desalination plant will be piped to the Dead Sea and released into the upper level of the Dead Sea water, just below the elevation of the Dead Sea at the time construction of the project is completed, estimated to be 425mbsl.

Running the hydroelectric generators at maximum load only during the time of peak power demand can maximize the value of electric energy from the project. There should also be a bonus for the fact that this is green power.

Filling the Dead Sea to the 400mbsl elevation in five years will allow favorable economic returns to the project, and give Jordan a guarantee of access to water within their own territory. The deep layer of Med Sea water, about twenty-five meters deep, will remain stable for many years, and provide water security for Jordan.

Use Of Water Supply

Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have a greater need for the water supplied by this project, compared with Israel. Water is easily supplied to this market from the location of desalination plants on the north end of the Dead Sea. Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Amman will potentially use the bulk of the water supplied by the first phase of the project.

Israelís water needs may continue to be supplied by desalination plants located on the Med Sea, and supplemented with water from the DSWP in areas close to the project. The price and location of water available from the Dead Sea Water Project will ultimately determine where it is used.

Eventually, large quantities of desalinated water may be used for irrigation in the Jordan Valley, utilizing the economy of distribution for water used more than one hundred meters below sea level. This will be developed over time, as settlements in the Jordan Valley take advantage of the new availability of water at favorable prices.

Competition for water has been a source of conflict in the region for many years. There can be no lasting just peace without an equitable distribution of water resources in the region. Having an abundant supply of potable water at reasonable rates will surely help peaceful development of the Middle East.

Political Consideration

Jordan is reticent to consider the Dead Sea Water Project plan for the reason that they do not want another nation (Israel) controlling their critical water supply. This objection can be overcome both by international treaties, and by virtue of our placing a deep layer of Med Sea water on top of the Dead Sea, making it available for Jordan to arrange their own water supply according to their security needs.

There are many reasons that the Dead Sea Water Project is more favorable to Jordan than their Red-Dead Conveyance plan. Capacity, economy, future development of pumped storage utilizing wind power, and availability of irrigation water for the Jordan Valley all favor the Dead Sea Water Project, viewed from the national interest of Jordan.

All parties have agreed that Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority should agree on any Dead Sea plan for it to move forward. I believe that the Dead Sea Water Project plan offers the best hope for agreement for construction of a Dead Sea project. It offers the best opportunity for all three nations, compared with other proposed plans.

Dead Sea Joint Venture

Present circumstances offer an excellent opportunity for the organization of a global consortium for the purpose of organizing and building the Dead Sea Water Project. Many people have been informed of the advantages of a Med Dead project as compared with the Red Dead Conveyance. Our plan for a Med Dead Project is demonstrably superior to all other known proposals.

By organizing the Dead Sea Joint Venture, we will gain the legal standing needed to present the project proposal to the involved governmental authorities.

The first step in this process would be to submit plans for the project so that our plan can be considered as an alternative to the Red-Dead Conveyance.

Comparison Of Two Projects

The Red-Dead Conveyance project is presently the favored project. A comparison of the Dead Sea Water Project with the Red-Dead Conveyance shows the tremendous advantage of the DSWP over the RDC.

The estimated construction costs of the two projects is similar -around $4 billion. Capacity of the DSWP is more than six times greater. The net present value of the DSWP at the time of construction will be likely be several billion dollars, while the RDC requires a $1 billion grant to get started, and will have a negative net present value for the project even with the grant.

Potential desalination capacity of the DSWP is about twelve times larger than what is planned for the RDC. The DSWP may sell $2 billion worth of electric energy while filling the Dead Sea, while net electric power production for the RDC is negligible.

The distance from the Med Sea to the Dead Sea is about 80 kilometers while the distance from the Red Sea to the southern shore of the Dead Sea is more than 200 kilometers. From there it is more than fifty kilometers to the north end of the Dead Sea, which is the desirable location for desalination facilities because of water needs for Jerusalem, Jericho, the West Bank, and Amman. The shorter distance increases flow efficiency by three fold, and provides for the efficient use of the elevation difference between the Med Sea and the Dead Sea for maximum production of electric energy.

Economic Opportunities

The Dead Sea Water Project offers a great potential investment return for the participants in the Dead Sea Joint Venture. The filling of the Dead Sea to the desired level, 400 meters below sea level, will provide dramatic returns to the project during the first five years of operation. It is estimated that sales of electric energy and water during the first five years of operation will total three and one half billion dollars. The estimated cost of construction of the project is four billion dollars. Thus the net present value of the project at the time the project will be built will likely be several billion dollars.

Israel Electric is planning to spend about one billion dollars on an 800-megawatt pumped storage project to come online in 2012. Obviously, the Dead Sea Water Project can provide that scheduled peaking power availability. The Dead Sea Water Project can give a tremendous boost to the economic development of Jordan and the West Bank. Donor nations wishing to aid the economic development of the Palestinian Authority controlled territory can be expected to subsidize the availability of water for those areas. This will help increase sales of desalinated water from the DSWP.

Next Steps

Now is the best time to begin organization of the Dead Sea Joint Venture. Timing is critical. Submission of the proposal for the project should be completed during the time of the analysis contract tendered by the World Bank for review of all plans for a Dead Sea project.

Thank you for allowing me to share these ideas with you.

Dead Sea Water Project Working Group

The April 12, 2005 meeting resulted in the formation of the Dead Sea Water Project Working Group, a volunteer organization with the purpose of promoting development of the Dead Sea Water Project.

The Dead Sea Water Project Working Group presently numbers twenty individuals from seven nations.

The focus of this group is to prepare and present the Dead Sea Water Project plan as an alternative to the Red-Dead Conveyance plan. The analysis contract is expected to be let for bids late this year, 2006.

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