A millionaire from the Middle East has an interesting idea. He has proposed to tow an iceberg from the ocean waters around Antarctica in an effort to provide more water to his countrymen in the United Arab Emirates. Although the idea is certainly out of the box, he is intent on trying it and plans to run tests by dragging smaller icebergs to South Africa or Australia.
The UAE faces a significant risk of drought over the next twenty-five years due to human-made climate change. Because the icebergs are already splitting off from large ice sheets, the eccentric millionaire realized that if he could bring one iceberg to his country, it could have the ability to provide drinking water to one million people over the next five years.
The man behind the plan is Abdulla Alshehi. He is an entrepreneur and inventor who has built a career on thinking big. Although the towing an iceberg from the southern waters to South Africa or Australia would be a test that could cost $80 million, he is intent on going forward with it sometime in 2019 because the water drought in the United Arab Emirates is reaching crisis proportions.
Pulling the iceberg through waters to the more southern nations would simply be a test to see if it is a worthwhile idea for him to do for his home country in the Middle East.
The chunk of ice that Alshehi hopes to take from Antarctica would be 1.2 miles by 550 yards. He would use a fleet of tugboats to bring the ambitious project to completion.
Because the iceberg would provide the UAE with a steady flow of drinking water for a substantial amount of time, he could do a heroic thing for his dry country. Not only that, but Alshehi hopes to turn the iceberg into a tourist attraction and get money from people willing to pay to see the unique water source.
In an interview with Euronew’s Inspire Middle East, Alshehi said: “As per our analysis, it will be cheaper to bring in these icebergs rather than using desalination water (gained by stripping the salt out of ocean water). Desalination plants require a huge amount of capital investment and mean pumping a huge amount of seawater to the gulf, killing fish and marine life. We believe it will be economically better and more environmentally friendly to use the icebergs, not just for the United Arab Emirates, but throughout the world.
Alshehi did not come up with the idea himself. It was attempted by Saudi Arabia back in the 1970s but failed because it was too technically difficult to make it happen. Alshehi will overcome these technical difficulties by using a “belt” made of metal that he’ll build around the iceberg before he has a boat drag it across the ocean.
The iceberg that the UAE will use has yet to be chosen. But when the time is right, they’ll use a satellite to identify it, and it could be huge.
What do you think about this “eccentric” idea?
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