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Towed iceberg could solve Cape Town drought

By T.K. Randall
July 4, 2018 · Comment icon 18 comments



Could an iceberg solve South Africa's water shortage ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Liam Quinn
A marine salvage expert has suggested towing an iceberg 1,200 miles to act as a source of fresh water.
Water shortages are becoming an increasingly serious problem in South Africa. Earlier this year, things got so bad that Cape Town came very close to forcing residents to queue for water rations.

Only a concerted effort to conserve water, coupled with timely rain showers, prevented catastrophe.

Now in an effort to provide a more concrete solution to the problem, marine salvage expert Nick Sloane has proposed a radical plan to tow an iceberg from Antarctica using an underwater net.
To keep the 500-meter-wide iceberg from melting during its 3-month 1,200-mile trip across the sea, Sloane has suggested wrapping it inside a textile insulation 'skirt'.

If the plan works, a single iceberg could supply Cape Town with 150 million liters of usable water every day for a year - that's equivalent to about one third of its annual water needs.

While the idea certainly has merit, Cape Town's deputy mayor Ian Neilson is not convinced.

"At this stage it appears to us that in fact the groundwater or desalination options are cheaper or at least equal cost price," he said.

Source: Japan Times | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by John Allanson 4 years ago
Cape town hot, Iceberg cold, sea warmer the nearer the equator you get. 1200 miles getting smaller and smaller. What guarantee that it will get there at all is there?. It may be better in the end to just build a desalination plant.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Elarwen 4 years ago
Actually, it could work because the sea off the west coast of South Africa (where Cape Town is) is made cold by the Benguela current which comes up from Antarctica
Comment icon #11 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
Desalinization of salt water is fine as long as the melting icebergs replenish what we take out and we have a use for all of the salt. The salt goes into the permeate stream of water at a higher concentration that what was in there to begin with. This needs to be dealt with. The desalted water then has to be treated to make it potable. The RO units also are known for growing bacteria which has to be dealt with heat or additional chlorination. The membranes aren't cheap and neither are the units. The salt water would need to be filtered prior to the units to take out any particles.  There are a... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by kapow53 4 years ago
You gotta be kidding
Comment icon #13 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
Solar powered desalinization plant would be far more interesting.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Elarwen 4 years ago
https://www.news24.com/Green/News/revolutionary-solar-power-desalination-plant-could-provide-cheaper-option-but-it-needs-space-20180718   this is in the works @Jon the frog
Comment icon #15 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
Awesome ! Great news indeed !
Comment icon #16 Posted by ItsNothing 4 years ago
Thats a whole lot of work but there should be another way than towing tho
Comment icon #17 Posted by ChaosRose 4 years ago
And they don't make nearly enough drinking water to accommodate everyone who will be needing it. 
Comment icon #18 Posted by kartikg 4 years ago
Maybe he this water can be used for non drinking purposes, or if I am reading it wrong you are saying they don't make enough water even for drinking purposes 


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