A team of the Netherlands’ DHV Consultantsand Switzerland’s IBG is working on a contract to study the feasibility of tapping groundwater resources in the northern coastal region and building a pipeline from there to the capital. The other study, looking at laying a pipeline from Lake Asad, behind the Euphrates dam, to Damascus, is being carried out by a team of Egypt’s Dr Ahmed Abdel-WarithConsulting Engineersand South Africa’s Africon.

Seven groups bid for the two contracts, which were originally put out to tender in January 2000. The project is expected to cost up to $1,000 million.