In an interview with Inspire Middle East, a well-known TV show from Euronews, Emirati businessman and manager of the National Advisor Bureau Ltd., Mr. Abdulla Alshehi, described his plan to solve drinking water issues in the UAE. His long term vision is to capture an iceberg from Antartica and bring it to the Arabian Gulf, with the use of a belt that will help prevent the iceberg to break while being moved by a tug boat.
With his plan, the businessman seeks to cover drinking water needs for around 1 million people for up to 5 years, this in the context of significant shortfalls of freshwater worldwide of 40% by 2030, forecasted by the United Nations.
Will the iceberg melt either on its trip or once it reaches the warm Arabian waters? The entrepreneur says that the iceberg is prone to lose 30 per cent of its mass before reaching the Arabian Gulf. After that, the harvesting of fresh water will start immediately.
The cost of such a large-scale project, according Mr. Alshehi, will be lower than investing in a desalination system which might also be harmful for the environment. In fact, desalination increases salt levels in seawaters, affecting the marine life.
With respect to the overall impact on Antarctica, at the same time being also heavily affected by an accelerating global warming, the businessman states that his project is backed up by environmental studies showing a minimal impact.
The project will start this year, with a smaller iceberg in the trial phase.