British architect presents plan to save Dead Sea

The Sunday Times: Lord Foster proposes carving a $3 billion canal from the Red Sea.

The Sunday Times reports that Lord Foster, the British architect, has been enlisted by the King of Jordan for his most grandiose project yet - a canal carved through the desert to rescue the Dead Sea from environmental disaster.

He has already held talks with the governments of Israel and Jordan about a $3 billion scheme to transfer water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. His proposal is to carry sea water from the Gulf of Aqaba to replenish the Dead Sea, which has shrunk by a third over the past 50 years and faces total evaporation.

The Sunday Times says that, over the past 50 years the Dead Seas depth has fallen by 20 meters, which puts the regions delicate ecology and thriving tourist industry at risk. The so-called Red to Dead plan aims to reverse this fall. A sequence of canals and pipelines would channel sea water down through the arid Arava valley in southern Israel and Jordan to the salt lake at the lowest point on earth, 415 meters below sea level.

The paper went on to say, Fosters intervention is the latest in a series of increasingly ambitious schemes by the architect he is building the worlds largest new airport in Beijing. Now 71, he has timed his proposal to coincide with an agreement between the leaders of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority to spend a $15m World Bank grant on investigating the feasibility of a canal project.

The paper continued that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) recently signed letters expressing their commitment to the project, despite the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. The study will be financed by France, America, the Netherlands and Japan.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on September 3, 2006

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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