In the arid yet beautiful deserts of the UAE, drinking water has always been a major concern and the Arabs are always looking for solutions. A company has concocted a very unusual offbeat idea to actually drag icebergs from Antarctica to deal with the national water shortage. Because it is UAE we are talking about, and nothing can be ‘ordinary’ or ‘small’ there!
The scorching Middle Eastern country, and much of the transcontinental region, is in the midst of a drought with some studies suggesting a water shortage could last for the next 25 years. Being one of the top 10 water-scarce countries in the world, hopes to help ease the stress of a drinking water shortage by towing an iceberg from the freezing Antarctica to harvest billions of gallons of fresh drinking water. This bizarre idea was suggested by the National Advisory Bureau of Madar City, Abu Dhabi.
You probably won’t understand what they are speaking in the video, but you’ll still get the idea!
The plan is to haul blocks of icebergs from the Heard Island which is almost 1000 kilometres off the coast of mainland Antarctica which will then be transported to Fujairah, one of the seven emirates which make up the UAE, around about 8800 kilometres away! As per estimated stats, an average iceberg contains more than 20 billion gallons of water, or enough for one million people over five years.
Apart from providing drinking water, the icebergs can create micro-climates in the region which could help in bringing rain to the arid landscape and help it make greener. But after being towed for such a huge distance, won’t the icebergs melt away? No, not that easily because 80% of their overall mass usually remains under water and the exposed area, being pure white in colour, reflects most of the sunlight and heat.
There’s one more aspectual benefit which will be incurred by bringing the icebergs to the Middle East. Tourist attraction, of course! They always have the ‘tourism attraction’ perk. The sight of icebergs floating along the coast could become another tourist attraction. The icebergs are floating into sea because of global warming and once they float away, they melt and millions of gallons of fresh water gets wasted and mixed into oceans. They just want to bring few of those melting bergs and drink ’em up!
The National Advisor Bureau Limited’s (NABL) managing Director Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi says, “It could take up to a year to drag the huge body of ice up to the UAE, and the project is set to begin in 2018. Once the iceberg is in place, the NABL will begin chipping off blocks of the iceberg above the water line and then crushing the pure polar ice into drinking water which would be stored in large water tanks and then filtered through a water processing plant.”.
This project may cost the UAE billions, but it will provide ample of fresh water for drinking which is a major concern in the UAE; and also that do they even ever count how much the spend! This project is called ‘Project Iceberg’ and it is “Oh-so-Arab”!