Dead Sea Canal

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The Dead Sea Canal is a proposed project to build a canal from either the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea to the Dead Sea . On the one hand, it is intended to be used to generate electricity through the now more than 400-meter-wide gradient between the seas and, on the other hand, to stop the drop in the water level of the Dead Sea, currently around one meter per year.


The idea of ​​connecting the Dead Sea to neighboring seas via canals was first mentioned in the publication “The Dead Sea, a New Route to India, with Other Fragments and Gleanings in the East” (1855) by the British William Allen. Allen, an officer in the Royal Navy, saw his proposal as an alternative route to the Suez Canal .

The aspect of energy generation, taking advantage of the difference in altitude between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea, at that time still less than 400 meters, was mentioned in 1899 by the Swiss engineer Max Bourcart. This idea was gratefully taken up in 1902 by Theodor Herzl in his utopian novel Altneuland . It was revived as a power generation facility during the 1970s and 1980s, most notably in a project study by Wendt and Kelm (see below) from 1975. Various routes have been proposed, one of which was from the Mediterranean via the Gaza Strip to the Dead Sea. However, the idea was not realized at this point due to financial concerns. The idea was taken up again in the 1990s. In addition to the route across the Gaza Strip, two other alternatives were considered, namely one from the Red Sea and one from the Mediterranean via northern Israel. The route from the Red Sea is currently considered to be the cheapest. This canal would be around 300 km long and would cost around 4 billion euros today.

Project studies

Wendt and Kelm

The engineers Herbert Wendt and Wieland Kelm created a comprehensive project study for the first time in 1975 that described the Depression of the Dead Sea for energy generation . After detailed investigations, the engineers agreed on a connecting tunnel in an east-west direction, which connects the Mediterranean with the Dead Sea.

According to this draft , the inlet would be near Ashdod , the outlet in a valley cut running far to the west on the steep drop of the Dead Sea. These points mark the shortest connection between the seas and are located away from the tectonic rift . The proposed system is divided into a seven-kilometer-long gravity canal , a 65-kilometer-long pressure tunnel and a three-kilometer-long storage basin. The high pressure sea water power plant is located in a cavern construction on the steep drop.

The pressure tunnel should be eight meters in diameter and measured according to the evaporation rate of the Dead Sea. Gravity sewer and storage basin react according to the principle of communicating vessels . In the storage basin, as much seawater from the Mediterranean automatically flows in as the load cases of the seawater power plant require. The water level of the Dead Sea would be regulated via the drainage tunnel. According to the considerations in 1975, the peak output would be 300 megawatts.

The artificially stored Mediterranean waters could - before it falls down into the turbines - as cooling water / process water , for example, for a thermal power plant to be used. A seawater desalination plant could be operated with the waste heat . The marginal problems are indicated among other possibilities in the study. According to the present rough network plan, driving the pressure tunnel would take six years and the entire project, taking into account the individual planning stages, construction and construction, would take twelve years. It is a billion dollar project of economic , technical and ecological importance.

Two Sea Canal (Peace Canal)

In 2002 Israel was considering building a pipeline from the Red Sea. On May 9, 2005, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a treaty to review the feasibility. In this contract the project is called the Two Sea Canal . The plan is to produce 870 million cubic meters of fresh water per year and generate 550 megawatts of electricity. The World Bank supports the project. On December 9, 2013, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians signed an agreement to build a pipeline worth up to $ 400 million that will transport 80 million cubic meters of water annually from the Red Sea to a desalination plant and 120 million cubic meters of water to the Dead Sea . Beginning in December 2015 it was announced that Jordan officially the construction work for the channel advertised have. Construction should start in 2018 [out of date] .

Scientific studies warn of the risks of this venture. For one thing, they see the coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba , where the pipeline water is supposed to be sucked in, at risk. On the other hand, large-scale gypsum formation could occur if the sulphate-rich Red Sea water mixes with the calcium-containing water of the Dead Sea. Large natural gypsum precipitates have occurred several times in the history of the Dead Sea. On the part of the sewer planners, technical countermeasures such as special mixing basins would have to be planned, especially since a large-scale formation of gypsum could cause a stronger reflection of the sunlight, which would lead to less evaporation and thus less efficiency of the planned hydropower plant, since the amount of water to be introduced depends directly on the amount of evaporation is. There are also concerns that leaks in the sewer could result in the contamination of fossil groundwater on the route with salt water.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Oren et al .: The Aral Sea and the Dead Sea: Disparate lakes with similar histories In: Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management 2010 15: 223-236
  2. Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians project: Pipeline to pump water into the Dead Sea , Spiegel Online, December 10, 2013
  3. Jordan starts tendering: Mega canal to connect the Red and Dead Sea . Spiegel Online, December 1, 2015, accessed on the same day
  4. ^ Project against water scarcity in the Middle East ., January 30, 2017, accessed on September 12, 2017