Red Sea Dam

Coordinates: 12°33′25″N 43°22′20″E / 12.55694°N 43.37222°E / 12.55694; 43.37222
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Red Sea Dam
The proposal is to dam the narrow inlet to the Red Sea, shown at the bottom-right of the image.
Coordinates12°33′25″N 43°22′20″E / 12.55694°N 43.37222°E / 12.55694; 43.37222
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsBab-el-Mandeb Strait
Length29 km (18 mi)
Power Station
Installed capacity50,000 MW

The Red Sea Dam is a speculative macro-engineering proposal put forward in 2007 by a group of scientists and engineers.[1] Although the authors' intentions are to explore "the ethical and environmental dilemmas and some of the political implications of macro-engineering", the proposal has attracted both criticism and ridicule.[2]


The idea is to dam the Red Sea at its southern end where the Bab-al-Mandab Strait is only 29 km (18 mi) wide. Natural evaporation would rapidly lower the level of the enclosed Red Sea. The dam would also lower the Red Sea by about 2.1 meters per year (6.8 feet per year).[3] Water rushing back into the sea would then drive turbines to generate electricity. The dam would have the potential to generate 50 gigawatts of emissions-free hydroelectric power. In comparison, the largest nuclear power plant in the United States has an output of 3.2 gigawatts.[4]


The proposal's authors point out that "Macro-engineering projects of this size cause massive destruction of existing ecologies", a point emphasized by critics[5] who note the damage caused by current, far smaller schemes.

The authors also note the benefits of the project. Besides helping to satisfy the region's growing energy needs, there are environmental benefits to the scheme: "On the positive side of the environmental scale, however, are the big reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and the reduced pace of fossil hydrocarbon resource exhaustion".

Peter Bosshard,[6] policy director of International Rivers in California, an anti-dam organization, condemned the scheme as ludicrous.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Power from closing the Red Sea: Economic and ecological costs and benefits following the isolation of the Red Sea by Roelof Dirk Schuiling, Viorel Badescu, Richard B. Cathcart, Jihan Seoud, Jaap C. Hanekamp
  2. ^ New Scientist critique
  3. ^ Andrea Thompson published (2007-12-06). "Dam on Red Sea Would Harm Environment". Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  4. ^ Ling, Frank. "Dam the Red Sea for power?". CNET. Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  5. ^ Live Science on the environmental impact
  6. ^ Red Sea mega-dam would be 'irresponsible' New Scientist, 07 December 2007 by Phil McKenna

External links[edit]