The water scarcity issue in UAE has forced the country to be dependent on desalination techniques. But these desalination techniques are costly. Promising technologies are in great demand to produce fresh water. During the search for advanced technologies, a company had thought about towing Icebergs to UAE’s coast.
This bizarre plan of iceberg project was first announced last May. But it was declared as “just a rumour” by the UAE’s Ministry of Energy.
“It is a private venture. The government being involved would support the project very much.” Says Mr Alshehi — who first outlined the idea in Filling the Empty Quarter, 2015.
An average iceberg can produce more than 20 billion gallons of water. This amount of water is enough for one million people over five years.
Global warming has resulted in melting of icebergs. Icebergs in Atlantic islands are a great source of fresh water. Melting of these icebergs results in wastage of huge amount of fresh water. The iceberg project aims to help in avoiding the wastage.
The iceberg project is expected to spend USD 50 million to tow huge Leviathan icebergs from Antarctica to the country’s coastline in an ambitious 12,000-km journey by early 2020.
A shorter pilot project is planned to be run in early 2019. This project would tow an iceberg to Australia or South Africa. Alshehi is confident about the success of the pilot project.
The company is currently developing a unique technology which would reduce project costs and ensure zero ice melting.
Once towed to Fujairah cost, a unique technique would be used to chip away the icebergs and move them to shore. The iceberg will be melted and treated. The treated water will be stored in industrial-sized water tanks.
Alshehi works with a team of scientists and he insists the project will have no negative impact on Antarctica or any other natural environment.
The icebergs are expected to induce a change in climatic condition. The icebergs might attract more clouds over the Arabian sea creating a vortex over the iceberg. This results in rainfall and provides an alternative source of water to the region.
The iceberg project could also bring extra benefits to the UAE by drawing tourists attention. Iceberg enthusiasts can visit the country to see the spectacle of huge ice monuments floating offshore. The project would place the UAE on the “glacial tourism map” for glacial tourism in the desert.