Science & Technology
Abu Dhabi firm wants to tow iceberg to the UAE
By T.K. Randall
May 6, 2017 · 17 comments
Is it feasible to tow an iceberg from Antarctica ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Liam Quinn
An impending water shortage in the United Arab Emirates has called for a rather extraordinary solution.
It might sound like a ludicrous proposition, but the fact remains that an iceberg holding 20 billion gallons of fresh water would be enough to sustain more than a million people for up to five years.
Currently, water is a major problem for the country, not least because the typical Emirati uses 80% more water on a daily basis than the global average.
A large number of desalinization plants have been deployed to try and meet this demand however this is a particularly costly solution and, according to the UN, within 20 years there are likely to be 600 million children living worldwide without sufficient access to clean drinking water.
But is towing an iceberg from the Antarctic really a viable solution ?
The Canadian oil and gas industry actually tows icebergs all the time, albeit relatively small ones, in an effort to move them out of the way of their offshore oil platforms.
In theory, the ability to move a large iceberg should be limited only by the strength of the cables used, the power of the vessels towing it and the ability to stop the iceberg from falling apart.
Ultimately however, there may simply be cheaper and more practical alternatives to supplying the United Arab Emirates with drinking water than to tow an Iceberg half way around the world.
"It comes down to the question of what is feasible and what is practical," said Tony King, director of ice engineering at Canadian firm C-Core. "Is it more practical to take a tanker to Antarctica and capture some fresh water melting off a glacier ?"
Source: The Guardian
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