Russians to cooperate on Jordan desalination

Desalination plants were included in a nuclear cooperation agreement signed on 22 May 2009 by Russia and Jordan, which also included power stations, research facilities and personnel training centres to be built in Jordan.

This followed an announcement on 17 May 2009, at the World Economic Forum in Amman, that the Aquaba desalination project is expected to start construction in late 2010.

Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission chief Khaled Toukan told reporters last week, “The signed agreement (with Russia) is the beginning of major strategic cooperation between the two countries. We have started negotiations on various areas of cooperation, but the most important of them is the construction of a nuclear power plant for production of electric power and of a desalination station.”

Talking about the Aqaba project to the Jordan Times, Skip Holland, senior vice-president and managing executive of MWH Global, the project management company, is quoted as saying, “Construction on the project, which entails five phases and will be built on a BOT basis, is expected to be completed within 25-30 years”.

Private sector companies would carry out the project with the support of the Ministry of Water & Irrigation and the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, while funding of the project was still under examination, he added. The water will eventually be pumped all the way to Amman.

“The first phase includes taking water from the Red Sea through pipelines to a desalination facility which will be built in Aqaba,” said Holland, quoting a flow of 120 million m³/year rising to 700 million m³/year.

However, according to Eng Rateb Edwan, the Head of the Desalination Section at the Ministry of Water & Irrigation, the design capacity of the plant is only 7 million m³/year.