The $800 million Red Sea-Dead Sea Conveyor project to save the Dead Sea will formally begin in October, with the establishment of an international trust fund to finance the project.

The establishment of the fund, which will follow the signing in late September/early October of an agreement between international donor agencies, will trigger a tender for a feasibility study into the project. Expressions of interest for the $15.5 million, two-year study are expected to be issued once the agreement is signed. ‘We are working with the donors for their signature at this time,’ says a World Bank official.

Interest in the study has already attracted international companies such as the UKs Fosters & Partners. ‘We have carried out some work recently on the Red-Dead project,’ says a Fosters representative. ‘We were not commissioned by Amman and havent met anyone in an official capacity, but we have carried out studies looking at the environmental impact [of the project] and sustainable energy production which we have shown to interested private companies.’

Once the two-year study is finished, tender documents will be prepared for a second phase that will involve the construction of a canal, water conveyors and desalination plants. The contract is likely to be let on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The planned 180-kilometre-long conveyor will carry about 870 million cubic metres a year from the Red Sea near Aqaba to the Dead Sea. Amman will take about 66 per cent of the total water conveyed. The Water & Irrigation Ministry is handling the project in the

kingdom (MEED 16:9:06).