epa02997600 An aerial view of the Dead Sea shows how the sea level has lowered causing erosion north of Ein Gedi, Israel, 09 November 2011. The Dead Sea with its mineral rich waters is the lowest point on Earth and is among the top candidates of the 28 finalists in the global online campaign to select the new Seven Wonders of the Natural World, to be decided on 11 November 2011. The lack of water reaching the sea has caused water levels to drop and has formed many sinkholes (lower L) on the shores. EPA/ABIR SULTAN +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

A canal connecting the Red Sea to the Dead Sea will rehabilitate the shrinking Dead Sea and supply drinking water to the people of Israel and Jordan.

The canal will be funded by the World Bank and will take approximately five years to complete. The canal beginning at the Red Sea will be 180km long before it reaches the Dead Sea.

Vice Prime Minister of Israel, Silvan Shalom, said: “Today we took an additional historic step to save the Dead Sea. The joint international tender to be published tomorrow is proof of the cooperation between Israel and Jordan, and a response to those who cast doubt on whether the canal project would ever go ahead. This is an exceptional environmental and diplomatic achievement that testifies more than anything to the fertile cooperation between the [two] countries.”

A desalination plant in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, across the gulf from the Israeli resort town of Eilat, will produce the drinking water. Israel will receive around 30-50 million cubic meters of potable water, which will go to Eilat and communities in the arid Arava region, while Jordan will use 30 million cubic meters for its own southern areas.

Israel and Jordan have been at peace since signing a treaty in 1994.

 

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