Israel and Jordan seal water-swap deal

Israel and Jordan have signed a bilateral agreement to exchange water and pipe Red Sea desalination brines to the shrinking Dead Sea.

Under the agreement, Jordan and Israel will share the potable water produced by a planned desalination plant in Aqaba. Its waste brines will be piped to the Dead Sea.The agreement involves the construction of a 65-80 million m³ a year desalination plant in Aqaba, rom which Israel would be able to buy some 35 million m³ a year of potable water to convey to its desert south. In return, Jordan would be able to buy an additional 50 million m³ a year of water from Lake Kinneret, roughly doubling its current allocation.

Signing the agreement on Thursday is National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, alongside his Jordanian counterpart, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim El-Naser.

Advisor to the Israei government, Maya Eldar, said: “This is a real agreement that is going to make sure the cooperation and relationship between Israel and Jordan is going to last.”

In addition to water swaps the agreement involves the construction of a 200 km pipeline to carry residual brines from the Aqaba desalination plant to the depleting Dead Sea.

The agreement, was the product of a memorandum of understanding signed in Washington, DC by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian officials in December 2013.That memorandum of understanding also called for Israel to enable the direct sale of an additional 20 million m³ of water a year from Mekorot national water company to Palestine, but that was being worked on separately according to Eldar.