One company in the United Arab Emirates has come up with a bizarre plan to provide drinking water for the state’s citizens. The firm intends to haul icebergs from Antarctica to the gulf coast in order to harvest its billions of gallons of fresh water, Joinfo.com reports with reference to MailOnline.
The National Advisor Bureau, headquartered in Masdar City, Abu-Dhabi, plans to source the massive blocks of ice from Heard Island, around 600 miles (1000 kilometres) off the coast of mainland Antarctica.
It will then transport them around 5,500 miles (8,800 km) to Fujairah, one of the seven emirates which make up the UAE.
One iceberg could provide enough for one million people over five years, according to the company.
And the scheme could begin as early as the start of 2018.
The firm’s director says they have already travelled the transportation route and used simulators to check the feasibility of the scheme, according to reports in Gulf News.
Speaking to the site about what he is calling the UAE Iceberg Project, Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi said: ‘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.
‘We want it mainly for the water. It could also be good for tourism and the weather.’
The UAE is one of the most arid countries and one of the top 10 most water-scarce in the world, due to its extremely arid climate, which receives less than four inches (100 mm) of rainfall per year.
Despite that, it consumes more water than double the global national average putting the country at severe risk of droughts over the next 25 years.
An average iceberg contains more than 20 billion gallons of water, according to the Abu Dhabi-based company.
They take a long time to melt as 80 per cent of their mass is underwater, while the white ice above reflects sunlight and deflects its heat.
Upon arrival at a specially constructed processing facility, workers will ‘mine’ the icebergs for their water supplies.
Blocks of ice will be chipped off and placed in giant tanks, before being filtered and processed.
‘This is the purest water in the world’, Mr Al Shehi added.
He also claims the iceberg’s presence could provide a more moist micro-climate in the area, perhaps even prompting rainfall.
And the project may prove a boost for tourism if it proves a success, with people travelling to see the unusual sight of an iceberg off the coast of the Arabian Gulf.