Marine salvage experts are considering a plan to tug icebergs from Antarctica to Cape Town, as part of a strategy to solve the region’s water shortage. It is estimated that a single iceberg could produce about 150 million liters per day for about a year, around 30% of the city’s needs.
The 4 million residents of the capital of South Africa are facing draconian water restrictions which limit their water usage to 50 liters a day per person, after 2015 and 2016 were recorded as the driest years ever in southern and western regions. It is estimated that Cape Town will completely go dry by early 2019, unless significant winter rains refill the city’s reservoirs.
In response, salvage master Nick Sloane was cited as saying to Reuters that he was looking for government and private investors for a scheme to guide huge chunks of ice across the ocean, chop them into a slurry and melt them down into millions of liters of drinking water.
Cape Town-based Sloane said his team could wrap passing icebergs in fabric skirts to protect them and reduce evaporation. Large tankers could then guide the blocks into the Benguela Current that flows along the west coast of southern Africa. Afterwards, a milling machine would cut into the ice, producing a slurry and forming a saucer structure that will speed up the natural process, according to Reuters.