Can Icebergs Be Used to Source Fresh Water? There are two elements that human beings cannot survive without; water and oxygen. Unfortunately there is a looming water crisis in the world today, with many countries already experiencing water scarcity or water shortages. This has led to the question, “Can Icebergs Be Used to Source Fresh Water?”

While there is plenty of water on earth, there is not that much freshwater available, and of that which is, around 70% is locked up in polar ice caps. The ice caps naturally calf icebergs on a regular basis, so it is not such a long stretch to wonder if we can source freshwater from icebergs.

Can Icebergs Be Used to Source Fresh Water?  

Most icebergs are approximately 915 x 450 x 180 metres in size, containing in the region of 90 BILLION litres of fresh water. The amount of water in just one iceberg of this size would provide all the water needs for 1 million people for longer than five years.

So, this again begs the question Can Icebergs Be Used to Source Fresh Water? Well, they could, but that would mean transporting the icecaps to where the water is needed, which brings with it some massive logistical problems:

Melting

The biggest problem regarding transporting icecaps is melting. No matter which mode of transport is used to move a naked iceberg to wherever there is a need for fresh water, it would melt before it got there.

This would necessitate the use of a cover for the icecap as insulation against the elements to prevent it melting and to hold any water that does melt off. This would take an immense amount of material, and no matter what material is used, there is always a chance that it would rip during the journey.

Draft

The draft of an iceberg is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the iceberg.

[Source: Environment Canada]

The idiom “tip of the iceberg” finds its derivations in the fact that almost all of an iceberg is submerged under water. With most of a large iceberg being submerged up to a few hundred metres, getting the iceberg anywhere near land will be impossible without allowing it to melt first and then the water pumped inland. Once again this means some sort of wrapping is necessary.

One solution to the question “Can Icebergs Be Used to Source Fresh Water?” could be to actually mine the icebergs where they are situated in the Arctic and fill super tankers with the ice shavings which would then melt on the trip and the fresh water could be pumped out where it is needed.

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