Jordan says that 17 international firms have launched tenders for the construction of a canal linking the Red Sea to the shrinking Dead Sea.
The ambitious project has been in the works for more than a decade and aims to provide much-needed water to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. It moved closer to reality in December 2013 when Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a water-sharing deal.
Jordan’s water and irrigation ministry did not name the firms who tendered, but said that each would be examined by a technical committee.
The first phase of the project — with an estimated cost of $900 million — involves building a conveyance system to transfer 300 million cubic meters (10.6 billion cubic feet) of water each year from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
The ministry says it would also see the construction of a desalination plant with a capacity of 65-85 million cubic meters a year.