The Dead Sea is a highly saline terminal lake, whose water level has gradually declined, mainly as a result of increasing upstream diversions of water for irrigation. Following analysis of a number of alternative alignments from the geological, engineering, ecological and economic aspects, the alignment crossing the southern part of the country from a point south of Ashkelon and reaching the Dead Sea to the north of Sedom was found to be the most attractive. Under this alternative, a supply of 58 cu.m/sec of water will be delivered from the sea intake on the Mediterranean via a main pumping station to a canal-pipeline and tunnel system, the tunnel cutting through the southern flank of the Judean mountains at a depth of up to 500-m below ground level. This called for careful hydrogeological and geotechnical studies, on the one hand, to ensure that seepage of Mediterranean sea water from the tunnel will not infiltrate fresh groundwater aquifers and, on the other hand, to prevent seepage of groundwater into the tunnel during construction.
Main project components:
• Sea intake on the Mediterranean Sea shore
• 100 MW pumping station, raising the sea water to the conveyance canal at an elevation of + 100m
• 7.6-km long, 5.4-m dia, pressure pipeline.
• 20-km long, conveyance canal
• 80-km long, 5.5-m inside diameter tunnel, with access shafts and portals
• Upper and lower regulating reservoirs on the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea, with a capacity of 4.3 and 7.2 million cu.m, respectively, designed to provide a weekly balance of flows to the power station
• Dead Sea power station with four vertical turbines, operating under a gross head of 444- to 472-m (according to the respective reservoir feeding the station), with an installed capacity of 800 MW
• Generation capacity was calculated so as to raise the Dead Sea to its historic level of -392 m over a period of 10-12 years. During this "filling period", the gross annual energy production will be about 1,800 million kWh. Once this level is reached, flow in the system will be reduced from 58 cu.m/sec to 43 cu.m/sec (to equal the rate of evaporation from the Dead Sea), and energy production will revert to its permanent level of around 1,400 million kWh/year.
• In addition to the direct benefits to the power sector, the national economy will derive additional benefits by utilizing the Mediterranean Sea water along the alignment for the cooling of industrial and power plants, for supply of water to ponds for agriculture, aquaculture, recreation, and solar energy, for flushing of salts from Dead Sea Works evaporation pans.
Total project investments: estimated at US$ 1,100 million.