Icebergs to be towed from Antarctica to United Arab Emirates for drinking water

Icebergs could create micro-climates in the region and bring rain to the arid landscape

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The Independent Online

The United Arab Emirates is planning to tow icebergs from Antarctica to its coast to solve its issues with drinking water.

The National Advisor Bureau Limited company plans to provide a new source of freshwater for the region by towing the iceberg from Antarctica to the coast of the eastern emirate of Fujairah. 

The Masdar city-based company then plans to mine the iceberg for drinking water.

An average iceberg contains more than 20 billion gallons of water, or enough for one million people over five years, Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi, the company's managing director, told Gulf News.

He said the iceberg could create micro-climates in the region and bring rain to the arid landscape.

Icebergs typically take a long time to melt, as around 80 per cent of their overall mass usually remains underwater, while the exposed white ice above reflects sunlight and thus heat, reducing the amount of water that evaporates.

Mr Al Shehi said his company's simulations predict it will take up to one year to tow an iceberg to the UAE and said the project will start in early 2018.

He also said the sight of icebergs floating along the coast could become another tourist attraction.

Once the iceberg is offshore, Mr Al Shehi said the company's water processing operation will begin.

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 said.

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