The UAE is going to bring in icebergs from Antarctica

The plan is to tow two icebergs from Antarctica to the Fujairah coastline.

May 3, 2017

We’re really a spoilt bunch here in the UAE. It never really hit us how easy we have it until our recent trip to London. In conversation, a few locals talk about how winter wasn’t nearly as bad as it usually is and how rainfall has decreased.

That part we understood. Climate change is real, even if United States’ president Trump believes otherwise. Said locals then went on to say that they’re now expecting officials to warn them about water usage. The general procedure is restricting them from watering their lawns.

We’ve never had anything like that in the UAE. Sure we’ve been asked to use water responsibly – as we should – but we haven’t been expressly asked to do or not do something. Somehow, there’s always enough water to go around. 

Much of that is down to cloud seeding. For those of you not familiar with the term, cloud seeding is essentially seeding clouds with silver iodine or calcium chloride, which are sprayed from a plane or from a cannon device on the ground. This helps provide extra nuclei that force the natural water in the skies to condense and crystallise.

That has helped but hasn’t cured UAE’s water shortage. That is where the icebergs come in. Per Gulf News, National Advisor Bureau Limited plans to tow in two icebergs from Antarctica. The Abu Dhabi-based eco firm is said to have had already mapped the transportation route and variables through a simulator.

It is believed that the average iceberg contains about 20 billion gallons of water and that around 70 per cent of the Earth’s fresh water is trapped in the polar ice caps. According to Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi, managing director of National Advisor Bureau Limited one iceberg would be enough for one million people over five years.

Al Shehi also went on to say that the journey to bring the iceberg to this side of the world – an estimated 12,600km – would take a year and that the company planned to begin the project in 2018. 

The UAE Iceberg Project is part of the “Rub’ El Amer” (“Filling The Empty Quarter”) projects, designed to transform the ‘Empty Quarter’ deserts into gardens ‘beneath which rivers flow’, including the Khalifa River Project, designed to connect Pakistan’s rivers to the UAE through undersea pipelines.