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Can We Solve the Global Water Shortage By Melting Icebergs?

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posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:26 PM
This idea has to come under the heading of "is it really possible?" or is this just someone's good idea but probably won't work in reality?

From the article:

June 10, 2011 • 3:00 pm PDT

Here's an apparently ridiculous idea for solving the world's drinking water shortages: Tow massive icebergs from the Arctic and Antarctic to the dry, populous regions that are desperate for water. It may be crazy, but it also just might work.

A French engineer, Georges Mougin, has actually spent the past three decades working on the concept, ever since a Saudi prince challenged him in 1975 to bring an iceberg up from Antarctic to the Arabian peninsula. He failed and failed again, but the obstacles—mostly incredibly rough and unpredictable ocean conditions—seemed like they could be overcome. A few years back, with the advent of advanced ocean forecasting methods, Mougin relaunched the project as IceDream. Today, he's got a whole team of glaciologists and engineers working to figure it out. Their first goal: Drag a single iceberg from the coast of Canada across the Atlantic before it melts.


Well I am all for the idea if it will work. And I thought only Superman was able to transport icebergs.....

From the video source:

Turning Icebergs into Drinking Water?
It's a common mistake to confuse ice fields, which are composed of frozen seawater and populated with polar bears, with icebergs, our floating mountains composed of frozen drinking water.

And did you know that, each year, the equivalent of the world's supply in drinking water melts away into the ocean? Why should just sit by and let this happen? Why not use icebergs as an alternative source for drinking water?

This is French Arts & Métiers Engineer Georges Mougin's dream since 40 years!

edit on 6/10/2011 by manta78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:38 PM
Appears to be plenty of water in Libya. Perhaps thats the real reason we are over there.
Very interesting though. I do wonder why an iceberg couldnt be mined right where it is sitting? Break chunks off and throw it in a sweltering belly of an ocean tanker and by the time it arrives at its destination is already melted and ready to go. Peace

In the 1950s, oil exploration in Libya turned up another valuable resource: water. Huge aquifers, underground deposits of sand and rock that also contain water, lurked underneath the scorching sands. The Libyan government weighed the costs of bringing water up from the aquifers against transporting water from Europe and desalination of salt water, and chose the aquifers as the most cost-effective option.

edit on 10-6-2011 by dalemcfad because: duh moment

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:41 PM
Wow this really makes me mad. I will post again when I calm down.

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:43 PM
Saudia Arabia just finished the worlds largest desalinization plant to supply their water needs. There would be no water shortage if the country would just build these but instead they decide not too. Sure it's expensive but it provides all the water you'll ever need.

Towing icebergs down is just silly.

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:46 PM
I thought "Global Warming was going to melt it all" \sarcasm

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:47 PM
This seems like a terrible idea for many reasons.

1. We shouldn't be commercializing the worlds icebox for profit.
2. How innefficient, useless and temporary is this? Literally towing an iceberg with boat, sounds like waste.

They should put all this money, time, and effort into a more sustainable solution. Since these areas are experiencing drought conditions, i thinks its safe to say they have a lot of harvestable solar energy. I envision massive structures that would focus sunlight onto saltwater, causing evaporation, and allowing freshwater to be collected. And the best part is, it could be freely powered by the sun. that seems like a much better place to throw money at.

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:51 PM

Originally posted by Cohort
I thought "Global Warming was going to melt it all" sarcasm

Actually we are coming out of an iceage so all glaciers should be gone in a few hundred more years. According to the cycle we will have no ice caps for awhile until the next ice age comes around again. No scientist can debate that the earth is warming quicker than past historical trends but the debate lies in what effect that may have. Some say that the global temps might remain too high for major ice to form again unless we get it under control while others say it will have zero effect.

Alot of disagreement about that part.
edit on 10-6-2011 by kro32 because: added more

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 07:58 PM
Of course lack of fresh water is not just a problem in Saudia Arabia. According to this article Europe is also going thru major drought conditions now:

Published: June 9, 2011

Europeans Act to Stem Drought Damage

PARIS — Suffering from a record-shattering drought, European nations started preparing emergency plans this week to conserve water and provide millions of euros in aid to farmers, including the deployment of soldiers to deliver hay for cattle grazing on sun-baked soil.


posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:06 PM
reply to post by kro32

If they are going to melt anyways I don't see the harm in using them for drinking water. I remember a few years ago a sheet broke off the size of Manhattan (from what I remember), why not tow it somewhere and use it?

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:12 PM
That guy is an engineer and he's stupid enough to think he can tow an iceberg all the way to a port deep enough inside the Tropic of Cancer? It's no wonder he spends years on a boat trying because he probably can't keep a real job in his supposed field. Think about it, if he's coming from the north he'd have to go through the Mediterranean sea and then the Suez canal down the Red Sea to get to the mountainous side of Saudi Arabia, or go all the way around Africa (covered in the next option). If he's coming from the south he'd have to pass the Tropic of Capricorn, the Equator, and all the way up to the Tropic of Cancer. What kind of stupid is that? What kind of power would he need? How much would it cost in fuel? How much would he go in dept every trip he never made yet?

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:19 PM
Recycled treated wastewater?

Reclaimed water has been branded “NEWater”

Sounds disgusting, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. Flouride with a side of poop anyone?

link< br />
I think another posters comment on solar dealination sounds more appealing and a more feasible long-term solution

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:20 PM
reply to post by manta78

We certainly can! But the transportation, building new facilities, and the hungry pockets of the few make it impractical. It would make more sense to develop a technology to efficiently turn salt water into drinking water and to take the salt and find some practical application for it.

What I found interesting:

How salty the ocean is, however, defies ordinary comprehension. Some scientists estimate that the oceans contain as much as 50 quadrillion tons (50 million billion tons) of dissolved solids.

If the salt in the sea could be removed and spread evenly over the Earth's land surface it would form a layer more than 500 feet thick, about the height of a 40-story office building. The saltiness of the ocean is more understandable when compared with the salt content of a fresh-water lake. For example, when 1 cubic foot of sea water evaporates it yields about 2.2 pounds of salt, but 1 cubic foot of fresh water from Lake Michigan contains only one one-hundredth (0.01) of a pound of salt, or about one sixth of an ounce.

I think our future as humans will not depend on how much fresh water we can haul from glaciers. Our future will be defined by how well we can use the resources we already have around us. If we looked hard and tried hard enough we can separate water and salt at a high rate and use the salt for something very productive.

One time-tested but expensive way to produce drinking water is desalination: removing dissolved salts from sea and brackish water. Its appeal is obvious. The world’s oceans, in particular, present a virtually limitless and drought-proof supply of water. “If we could ever competitively—at a cheap rate—get fresh water from salt water,” observed President John Kennedy nearly 50 years ago, “that would be in the long-range interest of humanity, and would really dwarf any other scientific accomplishment.”

But now things are changing. As more parts of the world face prolonged droughts or water shortages, desalination is on the rise. In California alone some 20 seawater-desalination plants have been proposed, including a $300m facility near San Diego. Several Australian cities are planning or constructing huge desalination plants, with the biggest, near Melbourne, expected to cost about $2.9 billion. Even London is building one. According to projections from Global Water Intelligence, a market-research firm, worldwide desalination capacity will nearly double between now and 2015.

As you can see the future isn't about unlocking the 3% of fresh water but to unlock the 97% of the water that is too salty for us to consume.

Here are some practical uses for salt:

* Soak stained hankies in salt water before washing.
* Sprinkle salt on your shelves to keep ants away.
* Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier.
* Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker for easier pouring.
* Add salt to green salads to prevent wilting.
* Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.
* Add a little salt to your boiling water when cooking eggs; a cracked egg will stay in its shell this way.
* A tiny pinch of salt with egg whites makes them beat up fluffier.
* Soak wrinkled apples in a mildly salted water solution to perk them up.
* Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won't stick.
* Soak toothbrushes in salt water before you first use them; they will last longer.
* Use salt to clean your discolored coffee pot.
* Mix salt with turpentine to whiten you bathtub and toilet bowl.
* Soak your nuts in salt brine overnight and they will crack out of their shells whole. Just tap the end of the shell with a hammer to break it open easily.
* Boil clothespins in salt water before using them and they will last longer.
* Clean brass, copper and pewter with paste made of salt and vinegar, thickened with flour
* Add a little salt to the water your cut flowers will stand in for a longer life.
* Pour a mound of salt on an ink spot on your carpet; let the salt soak up the stain.
* Clean you iron by rubbing some salt on the damp cloth on the ironing surface.
* Adding a little salt to the water when cooking foods in a double boiler will make the food cook faster.
* Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice to clean piano keys.
* To fill plaster holes in your walls, use equal parts of salt and starch, with just enough water to make a stiff putty.
* Rinse a sore eye with a little salt water.
* Mildly salted water makes an effective mouthwash. Use it hot for a sore throat gargle.
* Dry salt sprinkled on your toothbrush makes a good tooth polisher.
* Use salt for killing weeds in your lawn.
* Eliminate excess suds with a sprinkle of salt.
* A dash of salt in warm milk makes a more relaxing beverage.
* Before using new glasses, soak them in warm salty water for awhile.
* A dash of salt enhances the taste of tea.
* Salt improves the taste of cooking apples.
* Soak your clothes line in salt water to prevent your clothes from freezing to the line; likewise, use salt in your final rinse to prevent the clothes from freezing.
* Rub any wicker furniture you may have with salt water to prevent yellowing.
* Freshen sponges by soaking them in salt water.
* Add raw potatoes to stews and soups that are too salty.
* Soak enamel pans in salt water overnight and boil salt water in them next day to remove burned-on stains.
* Clean your greens in salt water for easier removal of dirt.
* Gelatin sets more quickly when a dash of salt is added.
* Fruits put in mildly salted water after peeling will not discolor.
* Fabric colors hold fast in salty water wash.
* Milk stays fresh longer when a little salt is added.
* Use equal parts of salt and soda for brushing your teeth.
* Sprinkle salt in your oven before scrubbing clean.
* Soaked discolored glass in a salt and vinegar solution to remove stains.
* Clean greasy pans with a paper towel and salt.
* Salty water boils faster when cooking eggs.
* Add a pinch of salt to whipping cream to make it whip more quickly.
* Sprinkle salt in milk-scorched pans to remove odor.
* A dash of salt improves the taste of coffee.
* Boil mismatched hose in salty water and they will come out matched.
* Salt and soda will sweeten the odor of your refrigerator.
* Cover wine-stained fabric with salt; rinse in cool water later.
* Remove offensive odors from stove with salt and cinnamon.
* A pinch of salt improves the flavor of cocoa.
* To remove grease stains in clothing, mix one part salt to four parts alcohol.
* Salt and lemon juice removes mildew.
* Sprinkle salt between sidewalk bricks where you don't want grass growing.
* Polish your old kerosene lamp with salt for a brighter look.
* Remove odors from sink drainpipes with a strong, hot solution of salt water.
* If a pie bubbles over in your oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spilled juice. The mess won't smell and will bake into a dry, light crust which will wipe off easily when the oven has cooled.

In conclusion, I think we should concentrate more on unlocking the 97% and leave the 3% for a rainy day!

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:36 PM
reply to post by dalemcfad

Apparently the idea of sewage treatment plants in the U S that turn that "product" into drinking water has already been in place for a while. I think I like the iceberg idea better......

Here's one video on that topic:

California Plant Turning Raw Sewage Into Drinking Water

Orange County in southern California has built a 500-million-dollar state-of-the-art water treatment plant which turns raw sewage into pure drinking water. The biggest challenge for the authorities is not the technology but selling the public on the process known as from toilet-to-tap. An AFPTV report.Refiling of a story sent in March 2008

edit on 6/10/2011 by manta78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:38 PM
The sea has about 5% salinity, the south Great Salt Lake in Utah is 15%, and the north part of the Great Salt lake as high as 25%. The city of Tampa Florida has a big desalination plant that accounts for around 10% of the service of fresh water to its area. Its relatively expensive, about three times what bottled water costs just purifying already fresh water. Nothing you'd use for basic infrastructural needs like sewers and air conditioners and street access for fire trucks and such.

Shipping water like shipping oil doesn't seem to be a viable method, think how fast a town would empty a tanker. Put it this way, how many tankers would it take to fill a typical reservoir? Canals isn't the answer either, look what happened to the Arial Sea in the last 3 decades, (for comparison purpose only). But it was water Russia wanted that dried out the sea, disrupting the natural water flow.

This whole issue leads to a hugh number of related aging infrastructural issues that places you wouldn't imagine are very close to disaster, like central California for instance. Aging earth levee's are the only thing keeping food production going there and the sea from ruining the 1/4 of the entire state and most all of the fresh water south of and including the Bay area, which is where most Californians live.

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:38 PM
Some military ships already make their own fresh water so the technology is already figured out. The only problem is the cost associated with it. The world will never not have the ability to have fresh water though.

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:51 PM

Originally posted by kro32
Some military ships already make their own fresh water so the technology is already figured out. The only problem is the cost associated with it. The world will never not have the ability to have fresh water though.

The salt is the problem.. what to do with it?

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:51 PM
reply to post by Equinox99

I am in favor of desalination plants also. We could use some of that seawater from the Gulf of Mexico to help alleviate our drought conditions here in Texas if such plants were in abundance. I may be wrong, but I think we have only one or two plants in the state at this time.

edit on 6/10/2011 by manta78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 08:54 PM
Okay, semi calm now.

Way back in 2005 I wrote a report on the possible altering of the effects of Global Warming. Even at the time I did not believe that it was man made, however, the ice caps are melting, causing damage to the oceans currents and rising waters. I decided to ignore what or who was at fault and simply attempted to show a plausible way to deal with it. The company took off but the project never came to be. I named the company Global Preservation Project (G.P.P.). I published the report here in 2006... Global Preservation Project

Most of the links are broken, but the report and all its pages are intact. Unfortunately, I can not access it to clear the bad links. Most of the report deals with water relocation and habitat development. If you would like to read the full report see the link above but I will give an over view of the water relocation portion here.

There are massive melt-lakes in areas like Greenland that if they were to break through would raise our oceans by three feet. This has massive catastrophic possibilities for coastal regions all over the planet. Melt-lakes are areas, especially along the coastal areas of Greenland, that are "soft spots" in the ice where it has begun to melt. Ice is reflective and it bounces the Suns rays back into space, but if it begins to melt the water absorbs the Suns rays and warms up causing giant and vast lakes to form. They tunnel and dig through the ice at an alarming rate. There are also many icebergs that have broken off and are melting as they travel south. Not only is this putting fresh water into a salt water area but also causes hazards for shipping lanes. Fresh water is lighter than salt water and "floats" on the surface. This stops the cold sea water(which is heavier than warm sea water) from sinking and completing its cycle of dropping in the north then traveling South and rising again as it warms in the Southern hemisphere. This is what regulates a balanced weather pattern on a global scale and the fresh water is bringing this cycle to a stop causing erratic weather patterns.

My report shows that the collecting, melting, and transport of these bergs, as well as the siphoning of the melt-lakes into tankers and transporting the fresh water to the mouths of rivers would serve multiple purposes.
First is would lessen the possibility of rising Oceans. Second it would bring desperately needed water to drought stricken areas for both drinking and agriculture.

It is my belief that our planet is drying up on the land masses and with a little help from us, we can alter if not stop this from happening. The problem is that the major companies I contacted to activate this plan declined because, even though the report shows that it can pay for itself, they could not turn a profit.

If China were to implement this plan they would have no further problems.

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 09:04 PM
reply to post by Agarta

Interesting perspective. Thank you. Sounds like you and the French engineer
were/are on the same page in the way of thinking about this....

edit on 6/10/2011 by manta78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 11:07 PM
The best thing to do would actually be if global warming from co2 was real. During warmer times when global temperature was significantly higher the earth was both wetter and had more liveable temperatures globally.
It is during ice ages and cold climate periods that deserts and drought is more prominent. The problem now is that we are in middle of a temporarily warm ice age period, but nowhere near as warm as it was before the ice age started.

Low latitude regions was not significantly hotter either the main difference was that it was also temperate in arctic/antarctic regions while equator was more or less the same as today.

The only threat from global warming is the increasing sea level, but that is something we can prepare for as it isnt something that will happen over night.

But sadly i think co2 has a insignificant effect and that it is mainly temperatures that modulates co2 levels. Past history shows that most of the time it was temperatures that raised several centuries before co2.

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