In a bid to solve its issues of drinking water, the United Arab Emirates is planning to tow icebergs from Antarctica to its coast.
The National Advisor Bureau Limited Company plans to tow icebergs from Antarctica to the coast of the eastern emirate of Fujairah. The icebergs are said to provide a new source of fresh water to the region. Once the icebergs are towed, the company then plans to mine them for drinking water.
Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi, the company's managing director said, “An average iceberg contains more than 20 billion gallons of water, or enough for 1 million people over five years.”
He further explained the presence of new giant icebergs in waters off the U.A.E. would also create micro-climates and would help bring more rain to the arid landscape.
“Our simulator predicts that it will take up to one year [to tow an iceberg to UAE]. We have formulated the technical and financial plan. Towing is the best method. We will start the project in beginning of 2018,” Al Shehi said. “We want it mainly for the water. It could also be good for tourism and the weather. It would create a vortex which would draw clouds from all over the region.”
While explaining the process, the managing director explained blocks will be chipped off the iceberg above the waterline and then crushed into water, before being stored in large tanks and filtered through a water processing plant.
"This is the purest water in the world," he added.
However, he declined to elaborate on the capital and operating costs involved in the project saying that it was proprietary.
The process of melting typically takes a long time. Around 80 percent of the structure of the iceberg remains underwater and the exposed white ice above reflects sunlight and thus heat, reducing the amount of water that evaporates — thus taking longer to melt.
This is not the first time someone thought of towing icebergs. In 1970s, the same idea was pitched to drag icebergs to Saudi Arabia but it was later abandoned over price and technical challenges at that time.
@MailOnline And it will melt before it reaches its destination.— Brother Ali (@sharpelle) May 7, 2017
@MailOnline Is that even allowed?— Sarah Jordan (@Twinkjordan) May 7, 2017
@TwitterMoments Scary precedent— Deena Kilmon (@ddkilmon) May 5, 2017
I'm gonna grab some popcorn & watch this play out: UAE to "tow" iceberg from Antarctica for fresh drinking water ??https://t.co/ZdjrZ6if2g— Katie Linendoll (@KatieLinendoll) May 6, 2017