An under construction pipe line on March 30, 2011 near Amman. Jordan said on Monday it plans to build parts of a project linking the Red Sea to the shrinking Dead Sea that would supply the parched country with desalinated water.

Jordan said on Monday it plans to build parts of a project linking the Red Sea to the shrinking Dead Sea that would supply the parched country with desalinated water.

Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur said the $980-million project is designed to provide Jordan with 100 million cubic metres (3.5 billion cubic feet) of  a year.

"The government has approved the project after years of technical, political, economic and geological studies," Nsur told a news conference.

Under the plan, Jordan will draw water from the Gulf of Aqaba at the northern end of the Red Sea to the nearby Risheh Height, where a  is to be built to treat water.

"The desalinated water will go south to Aqaba, while salt water will be pumped to the Dead Sea," Nsur said.

The Dead Sea, the world's lowest and saltiest body of water, is on course to dry out by 2050.

The degradation of the Dead Sea started in the 1960s when Israel, Jordan and Syria began to divert water from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea's main supplier.

However,  fear that an influx of  could undermine the Dead Sea's .

"We are thinking of selling desalinated water to Israel and buying water from Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee)," said Nsur.

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