The Dead Sea 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In light of the looming energy crisis and dwindling condition of the Dead Sea,
Israel Chamber of Commerce President Uriel Lynn recently appealed to relevant
ministers that they reexamine the idea of creating a canal between the
Mediterranean and Dead seas.
Lynn sent a joint letter this week to
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and Energy and Water Minister Dr.
Uzi Landau, urging them to create a committee that would investigate the
opportunities afforded by such a plan, according to his office.
project, historically called “Med-Dead,” would connect the two bodies of water
through a canal, and a hydroelectric power station at the mouth of the Dead Sea
would be capable of providing 240 megawatts worth of power, only a little less
than the capacity of a coal-fired unit, Lynn argued.
“In the 1970s, the
Israeli government initiated the digging of a canal that would link the
Mediterranean to the Dead Sea,” Lynn wrote to the ministers, stressing the need
to once again examine the project’s feasibility from economic and other
During his time as director-general of what was formerly
called the Energy and Infrastructure Ministry, Lynn said that he served as the
head of a government body that did such checks and evaluated the plan’s
potential contribution to the economy, including the clean energy that would be
gained from the hydroelectric power plant.
The project would have the
ability to not only increase water flow into the ever-dwindling Dead Sea
northern basin, but would also have ancillary benefits, like improving the
environment, tourism and agriculture, according to Lynn.
“The idea was to
finance the project mainly in bond loans,” he wrote. “I suggest you establish a
joint committee that will reexamine the feasibility of the canal project for the
State of Israel.”
To Lynn’s appeal, Landau responded in a letter on
Wednesday explaining that the government had actually decided in March 2007 to
conduct a feasibility study on such a connection, but between the Dead Sea and
Red Sea – known as “Red-Dead” – rather than the Mediterranean.
original responsibility for fulfilling this task fell in the hands of the Prime
Minister’s Office, it currently is under the auspices of the regional
development minister, even though it should logically be within Landau’s
jurisdiction, the minister argued.
However, Landau wrote, a team led by
the World Bank – but including representatives from Israel, Jordan and the
Palestinian Authority – are currently looking into the plan’s economic
feasibility and environmental implications, and will soon be submitting their
findings to the Israeli government.