Dead Sea Canal Project: Harza Engineering determined that water pumped up 410 feet from the Red Sea [bottom left, Gulf of Aqaba] would plunge some 1,750 vertical feet through the Jordan Rift Valley (part of the Great Rift Valley that includes the notorious Bekaa Valley of Lebanon to the north) to the Dead Sea [top center]. The drop would generate hydropower which, augmented by solar power, would fuel desalination and make available fresh water for agriculture, fish ponds, industry and recreation on artificial lakes.
"Canals linking the Red Sea, Dead Sea and Mediterranean Sea have been discussed since the 19th century, initially for transport, then hydroelectricity and now with the main purpose of desalinating sea water," notes Aljazeera in "High hopes for canal deal between PA, Jordan and Israel":
Ministers from Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority will sign an agreement Monday to pave the way for the construction of a canal that will link the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
The canal will generate electricity, provide fresh water, and prevent the Dead Sea from drying up.
Water will be drawn from the Red Sea at Aqaba in Jordan, raised to 170 metres above sea level and then let to fall to the Dead Sea which, at 400 metres below sea level, is the lowest place on earth.
Talk about pipe dreams.
There are also further plans to construct holiday resorts and a water park along parts of the route.
The first stage will be a $20m feasibility study partly funded by the World Bank with the estimated $3bn cost of the final project also to be partly funded by the bank.
The sea level continues to fall by about 80cm a year raising the possibility of a battle for control of water resources in dry areas which can be fierce.
Some analysts believe that this was one of the underlying causes for the 1967 six day war and the reason behind Israel's invasion of Lebanon. The former secretary general of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, has warned that the next wars will be fought over water not oil.
Try telling that to the "It's all about oil" crowd.
Control of water rights remains a major factor in relations between all the countries near the Jordan Valley and especially between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The canal has been called the Peace Conduit by some commentators, who see the co-operation involved as a model for peaceful co-existence in the region.
Water, water everywhere and now a drop to drink?