(Reuters) – Jordan and Israel signed an agreement to go ahead with a World Bank-sponsored project to build a desalination plant in the Gulf of Aqaba and a pipeline linking the Red Sea with the Dead Sea.
The plant will be built in the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba on the Red Sea and will desalinate water to be shared by Israelis and Palestinians. The brine that is a byproduct of the process will be sent north in a 112-mile (180-km) pipeline to the Dead Sea.
The project will cost around $900 million. It will take nearly three years to complete.
Jordanian officials said the two projects were crucial to providing a source of fresh water to the kingdom, which faces a severe water deficit, and to reviving the shrinking Dead Sea.
“The deal will help satisfy Jordan’s increasing water needs for development,” Jordan’s water minister, Hazem al Nasser, said after the agreement was signed.
The desalination plant will produce at least 80 million cubic meters annually. Israel will buy at cost up to 40 million cubic meters. The rest will go to Aqaba.