Tshuva’s plan envisages the development of Dubai-like tourist, business and industrial zones alongside the canal.

The World Bank has distanced itself from the plan and is pressing ahead with funding for two other studies for the Red Sea-Dead Sea conveyor project, which will be completed within two years.

France’s Coyne & Bellier is carrying out the feasibility study for the scheme and the UK’s Environmental Resources Management is responsible for the environmental and social impact study.

The project involves the construction of a 200-kilometre-long system to transport 2 billion cubic metres a year of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The system is likely to be a combination of pipe, tunnel and canal.

As well as replenishing water levels in the Dead Sea, the conveyor will be used to produce drinking water and for hydropower.

The World Bank is also planning to launch a study into possible alternatives to the Red Sea-Dead Sea project (MEED13:02:08).