Israeli official calls to save Dead Sea

July 27, 2009 at 7:55 AM

JERUSALEM, July 27 (UPI) -- Work on the Dead Sea Canal canal project must start immediately to stop water levels from receding further, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said.

Speaking before the Knesset's finance committee Monday, Shalom said it is vital to begin a pilot project examining environmental impact the proposed canal will have on the Dead Sea and addressing receding water levels, Maariv reported.

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to the construction of the canal, a 112-mile link between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. About 52.8 billion gallons of water will be pumped annually to the Dead Sea and other desalination projects to be used by the three entities, the Tel Aviv newspaper said.

The project will be carried out in stages, with one of four pipelines laid to pump the water from the Red Sea, the newspaper said. The second stage will involve the desalination of 26.4 billion gallons of water which will be transferred to Jordan, and the third stage relates to the transfer of the remaining 26.4 billion gallons of water to the Dead Sea, the newspaper said.

Last month in Washington, Shalom received assurances from the World Bank it would finance a feasibility survey for the project to be completed between 2010 and 2011, Israeli media reports said.

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