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April 12 Meeting

Design Concepts


World’s biggest desalination project planned--

The Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel-

This unique place, lowest dry land on earth, has held the attention of the world for thousands of years. And now that it is drying up, dropping more than one meter each year, people of many nations are hoping to save the Dead Sea.

The drying of the Dead Sea has been hastened by the diversion of much of the flow of the Jordan River, with Lake Kinneret providing fresh water for Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. Having drinking water and irrigation of crops is more important to the people of that region than saving the Dead Sea.

The dying Dead Sea offers the opportunity for construction of a massive water project that can solve the water needs of the region for many years. Jordan is more desperate for water than Israel, because they do not have the Mediterranean Sea for their western border, and because their land is more arid than Israel. They are determined to take advantage of the interest in saving the Dead Sea to enable them to finance and build a project to both save the Dead Sea and make some water available in the region.

That project is called the Red-Dead Conveyance, and it is a cooperative project between Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. It proposes to deliver 1.8 billion cubic meters of seawater annually, of which about eight hundred million cubic meters would be desalinated. Brine from the desalination would be added to the Dead Sea, but will not be adequate to maintain the level of the Dead Sea.

The proposal has major problems: the delivery system is three times longer than a route from the Mediterranean Sea to the north end of the Dead Sea; it has many environmental problems, and only delivers 1.8 billion cubic meters of seawater annually to the wrong end of the Dead Sea. Extensive potash and mineral mining operations are at the south end of the sea, and the Med seawater is needed at the north end to supply desalinated water to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Amman, Jordan.

The Dead Sea Water Project proposes the building of a ten meter inside diameter segmented smooth bore concrete lined tunnel that will supply twelve billion cubic meters of seawater to the north end of the Dead Sea, for about the same installed cost as that proposed for the RDC scheme. Pumping stations and pipelines are eliminated by using gravity flow through a below sea level tunnel. The massive capacity will enable the placement of three meters of Med Sea water on top of the Dead Sea in the first three months of operation, preventing wave action from mixing the Med Water with the Dead Sea water. This layer will be built to 25 meters deep eventually, and will be maintained by removing the top warm layer for desalination and other uses, and replacing it constantly with Med Sea water.

Dead Sea water removed for the potash mining operations will be replaced with brine from the desalination plants.

Construction of a filter basin at the entrance to the tunnel will enable clean seawater delivery to the desalination plant designed for one billion cubic meters annual production. Eventually ten billion cubic meters of annual production can be accomplished by utilizing mechanical vapor compression desalination technology. This low temperature advanced technology enables ninety percent of the feed water to be removed as distillate. Much of this fresh water can be used in the Jordan Valley below sea level, and the seawater passing through the 1500 megawatt hydroelectric station will provide the power for desalination and delivery of the fresh water. The large capacity of the hydropower plant is enabled by a reservoir designed to hold one day's flow of water at the elevation of twenty five meters below sea level, so that the plant is used for peaking power operating about eight hours per day.

Reducing the volume of the brine is critical to being able to utilize the potential twelve billion cubic meters annual flow of seawater, since the evaporation of the Dead Sea only uses about one billion cubic meters annually. Ten billion cubic meters sweet water annually must be used for the project to reach full capacity. This offers the opportunity to have abundant fresh water of the highest quality for use in the region where shortage of water is a constant source of conflict. Water for irrigation can open new areas for settlement, and help bring peace to the region.

Presently a voluntary working group, named the Dead Sea Water Project working group, is promoting the adoption of this plan by the governments of Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.

Randolph Gonce
Dead Sea Water Project working group

276 County Road 56
Stevenson, AL 35772
256 437 2687