The Red-Dead Project & More on Railways

Yesterday I blogged about a railroad from Haifa to Irbid as reported by Israeli Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit

Apparently today an interesting development occured when Jordanian transport minister Saoud Nseirat denied that there have been talks over such a project. In all fairness Meir Sheetrit said he was presenting plans for the project, hence the assumption tends to follow that talks took place on some level.

In other developments…

The Red-Dead project (which I think is a funny name because many of our big government projects end up dead and red) is a plan to extend a pipeline that is 200km long which connects the Red Sea to the Dead Sea and therefore pours water from the former into the latter to help stop the drying up process. The pipeline will rise 170 metres above sea level, then drop to 400 metres below sea level into the Dead Sea.

Experts have said the Dead Sea is on a fast course of drying up within the next 50 years at a rate of 1 metre every single year. This is unimaginable considering the amount of investment being injected into the Dead Sea’s economy, mostly in the form of hotels and resorts.

Two key features of the project (other than saving the Dead Sea from dissapearing) is to enable Jordan to generate electricity and provide it with water through a desalination plant. This amounts to 850 million cubic metres of potable water compared to the current 500 million cubic metres deficit as reported by the Jordan Times.

This will involve Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis and it is still in the study phase since recieving initial funds. The $15.5m feasibility study is partly funded by the World Bank. $3bn is the estimated cost of the final project also being partly funded by the bank.

Interesting Background Info:

– The Dead Sea is called so because it is home to no living organism due to its salt content. Salt in the Dead Sea is at 33% compared to 3% in the Mediterranean.

– The reason for this high salt concentration is because 1 million years ago a major earthquake brought down the sea into the valley which is now the lowest point on the planet.

– Because of this new geography the sea’s main source of water was the Jordan River (which is now almost gone) however this water flows downwards and there are no exit points, so the water evaporates in the heat of the valley, leaving behind…salt.

– One of the earliest recordings of plans for the Dead Sea were by Theodore Herzl who suggested linking the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea to generate electricity for the future state of Israel. Obviously those plans did not turn out so well.

To Read:

On Water
More On Water
Even More On Water (Disi Project)

Dead Sea water level


  • though the project might seem to be underway or being talked of, there are other important elements to consider other than reducing water level in the dead sea or generating electricity. the physical tranportation of water will have major ecological hazards on both the red and dead sea..
    the dead sea would take many years for it become salty again to the degree it is now once it diluted with the sea water which will in turn have other problems such as people and other objects might be able to sink since the salinity is reduced..also as a result oft the water transport some animal life will be introducded to the dead sea and wont be able to survice due to the high level of salts…there are many reports about such consequences and some very interesting but ultimatly they all discuss the the disturbance of the ecological balances…

  • Faris, I don’t see how the Dead Sea’s saltiness is going to be greatly reduced since the water that will be dumped into it is salty ocean water compensating for evaporated pure water.

    Also, I met a Jordanian graduate student in Canada last year who worked for Sultat Al Aqaba and he told me that a study was conducted to investigate the ecological effects that you are talking about and they found that there will be no major problems.

  • The salt content will remain relativly the same. The project is not to connect both seas but to use a pipeline which means the water that pours into the the deadsea (downhill) still has no place to go, no exits, and the evaporation process continues

  • the type of salt in the dead sea varies from that of the red sea its less concentrated hence salinity will be reduced even if it was relative…
    hamzeh how can such a project whereby phsically moving water from one sea to another not have any ecological effects all human impact has some ecological impacts dont you think?

  • I agree us humans have an effect on our ecological systems, afterall we are part of them, aren’t we?

    But seriously what natural life is there right now in the Dead Sea area that will be extremely affected? It’s not like they’re going to fill up the valley with water or anything, they are just pouring water into an already existing water body. The salt that exists in the Dead Sea is the same as that which exists in ocean waters, it comes from the same source: water running down mountains through rivers, etc. Even if the properties of the water change, that is not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion.

    I think there is a lot to benefit from this project that there is to damage, even when it comes to the environment.

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