Jordan's Red Sea Desalination Plan

At the Aqaba Water Co., artificial intelligence saves water

2 min read

For a small city in a water-poor country, Aqaba got lucky. The city of 110 000 sits on the Red Sea, on Jordan’s only coastline. Residents get their water from 20 wells in the nearby Disi aquifer, a store of ancient groundwater that straddles the border with Saudi Arabia. While the rest of Jordan makes do with a few hours of water service a week, Aqaba’s supply is uninterrupted.

Some of that happy circumstance is self-generated, with computer-controlled water infrastructure and a new artificial intelligence system that will soon manage most of it. Now Aqaba is becoming a linchpin in Jordan’s grand water strategy. By the end of next year, the city plans to start building Jordan’s first seawater desalination plant, which will provide 10 million to 15 million cubic meters of water per year, matching Aqaba’s current usage. The reverse-osmosis treatment plant will be the first step in an ambitious plan to build a canal to send water from the Red Sea to the shrinking Dead Sea, generate hydropower on the canal, and install another desalination facility along the way. ”Our project will be a pilot for Jordanian engineers to gain experience and prepare for larger desalination projects in the future,” says Imad Zureikat, general manager of Aqaba Water Co., the city’s utility.

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We Drive Solar

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