3. JRSP Overview
The Jordan Red Sea Project (JRSP, Project, or JRSP Project) is a water infrastructure
and economic development project designed to assist the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan establish water independence by developing a long-term and stable water supply. The JRSP Project involves the financing, planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a water conveyance and treatment system from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea and to Amman with large scale desalination of seawater for Jordan and other regional interests. Excess seawater and desalination brine will be discharged to the Dead Sea. Hydropower stations, to the extent possible, will be used to help off-set the large energy needs of the project.
The JRSP Project will be implemented by a unique Public Private Partnership (PPP). The private component of the PPP, known as the JRSP Company, will be the operating body responsible to execute, construct, manage, maintain, and operate the JRSP. The JRSP Company will be organized under authority granted by Jordanian laws and constitutional authority. The JRSP Company will implement a broad-based economic development program in Jordan to support adequate project financing and provide a reasonable rate of return to JRSP Company investors. The economic development program will stimulate economic growth and provide the freshwater
demands needed for long-term sustainability of the JRSP water supply.
2. Jordan’s Water Needs
The country of Jordan has been suffering from a lack of freshwater for decades. While the population continues to grow, Jordan’s already over-extended natural water resources continue to diminish. Jordan is the 4th driest nation in the world and as of 2009, the availability of freshwater water per capita was 145 cubic meters per year (m3/yr) which is far below the 500 m3/yr recognized as the international water poverty line.1
As of 2007, Jordan has annual freshwater resources of 867 million cubic meters per year (mcm/yr) with a total demand of 1,505 mcm/yr, creating a demand deficit of 638 mcm/yr. By the year 2040, this deficit is anticipated to be nearly doubled if a solution is not found and implemented. While the Government of Jordan (GoJ) has invested in building reservoirs, surface water collection, and groundwater extraction systems in recent years to meet population and industry water demands, the water resources of the country continue to decline. Withdrawals from groundwater aquifers are over-extended and/or taken from non-renewable aquifers and are experiencing reduced water quality. Historically, Jordan has been obtaining a large portion of its freshwater supply from the Jordan River. However, the amount of water available in the river has been declining due to upstream flow diversions by regional neighbors to the north and west for their own use. These circumstances have prompted the need for Jordan to find long-term reliable and secure water sources. An active new critical water resource project in Jordan is the Disi Pipeline which is scheduled to deliver 100 mcm/yr of freshwater by 2012. Despite the Disi Pipeline and other improvements to water infrastructure and water management, the GoJ requires a sustainable, long-term water supply source. For Jordan, the most logical source of available water on a consistent
basis is the Red Sea.
3. JRSP Concepts
The JRSP is a much-needed project necessary to secure future and long term water supplies for the Jordanian people. For many years, politicians and engineers have discussed the possibility of constructing a Red Sea to Dead Sea water conveyance project to supply Jordan and potential regional neighbors with desalinated water. However, little progress was made in establishing the financial means to carry out such a project because the capital and operational costs for the required water infrastructure were anticipated to exceed the amount of potential water related revenues that could be collected through conventional cost recovery methods. However, by phasing the capital infrastructure project and combining the phasing plan with an economic growth and development program, it is possible to realize such a project. Therefore, to help the realization of the JRSP Project, the GoJ has established four (4) primary objectives for the JRSP Company in delivering the JRSP Project:
• Establish a secure and affordable water supply for Jordan while
saving the Dead Sea from extinction.
• Support widespread economic growth.
• Provide for potential regional water.
• Facilitate private and public financing through the JRSP Company.
Through large scale seawater
extraction and desalination processes, the JRSP Project can ultimately provide 930 mcm of freshwater annually to meet Jordan’s freshwater needs. While it is anticipated that the GoJ will be the primary off-taker of freshwater from the project, the JRSP Company, through the GoJ, could also contract with other entities and regional neighbors for freshwater sales. The desalination brine from the treatment processes can be used for helping save the Dead Sea. Ultimately the JRSP can provide 1,220 mcm of seawater/ brine annually to help save the Dead Sea. The JRSP Project must include environmental studies and pilot testing of the effects of introducing Red Sea seawater and desalination brine into the Dead Sea.
The JRSP concept overcomes the revenue shortfall of a typical, publicly financed water supply/infrastructure project by including a comprehensive economic growth and development program that will provide: (1) freshwater sales at acceptable market prices; (2) judicious project debt repayment; and (3) a reasonable rate of return to potential project investors based upon potential investment methods.