Water ministry finalizes documents for National Water Carrier Project

In this undated photo, the Ministry of Water can be seen. The IACC referred to public prosecution a case of suspected corruption involving former officials at the ministry. (Amjad Al-Tawil/Jordan News
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The National Water Carrier Project is set to move on to its next phase before implementation, after the Ministry of Water announced that it had completed the related required documents following months of careful calculations, studies, and discussions with other government officials and private sector stakeholders. اضافة اعلان

Ministry of Water and Irrigation spokesperson Omar Salameh told Jordan News that the project “aims to desalinate water from Aqaba’s Red Sea to distribute it across Jordan’s governorates, which will most likely consume 300 million cubic meters on a yearly basis.”

Salameh said the ministry has finished crafting all the necessary documents that are needed for the project to proceed to the phase of implementation. “These documents basically outline the main features of the project, from its essential goals to its financial requirements, delving deep into all the pivotal details,” he explained.

Salameh also said that the documents will be referred to a coalition of five stakeholders that have won the right to review the finalized documents through a ministry approved appointment. After the coalition has reviewed the final documents, it would determine if any changes are needed before outlining the appropriate course of action required for implementation.

The five members of the coalition that will approve the next phase of the project are the International Company for Water and Power Projects, Consortium of Huta Marine Works Ltd., Marubeni Corporation, Meirdiam-Vinci Orascom, and Naqel Water Solutions. 

According to Salameh, funding of the project has amounted to approximately JD600 million. “While the ministry cannot disclose all the details relating to the main funders, we can say that it is mostly through grants by some foreign countries, as well as from USAID’s financial assistance, and the Jordanian treasury,” said Salameh, adding that this is a project “made by Jordan, for the benefit of Jordanians exclusively.”

Jordanian water expert Dureid Mahasneh told Jordan News: “While I do not have access to the exact details of the documents, I would imagine that its main components would include details about the exact amount of water that will be desalinated from the Red Sea, as well as which type of energy will be used to initiate the project.”

Mahasneh said that “if the plan will not use alternative energy sources, there will most likely be some emissions as a result of this, which must be noted when remembering the various climate change agreements that Jordan is a part of”.

Mahasneh added that another important point to keep in mind is the number of pipes and pumping stations that will be used. “If the numbers are true, and the project will aim to use more than 250 million cubic meters, then this will require a great amount of pumping stations and pipes.”

Stakeholders, according to Mahasneh “will most likely value strategic partners that are experienced companies that are capable of coping with the monetary demands of such a big project.” The estimated total cost of the project could be in the JD2-2.5 billion range, he said. 

The project will return saline water back to the Red Sea, but Mahasneh noted that “conclusive studies determined that returning the salty waters in this way will not negatively affect the Red Sea’s environment.”  He praised the project’s potential to help the country cope with the scarcity of freshwater in Jordan, saying that “any drop of water we acquire is helpful.” 

A local news outlet has estimated that the project should be enough to meet Jordanians’ need for water “until 2040”.

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