Since glaciers calve and icebergs split, why can’t one be moved by, say , tug boats or barges to be mined as a source of fresh water?


I saw that desalinization plants are energy intensive and don’t remove boron which is toxic to plants, but icebergs are fresh water

In: 7

In theory, you could. But moving an iceberg from its location to where people need it would be far less efficient than a desalination plant. Additionally, there aren’t that many icebergs, and the number is definitely declining due to global warming.

Towing the iceberg to the destination would be a very slow process, as 90% of the thing is underwater, and the drag would be considerable. Once there, you’d have to have some sort of drydock for it, and the deep draft of the berg would make the drydock very expensive to engineer and build.

It can be done – in theory and with small icebergs, but it is not an easy task. The tonnage of an iceberg can range from 100K tons to more than 10 million tons. They are huge and heavy and difficult to tow. For any sizable iceberg, you’d need a bunch of ships and LOTS of fuel to tow it any meaningful distance, and the entire time it’s melting. Further, they’re unstable and can flip/turn, easily snapping tow ropes or putting the ships in danger. Put another way, towing icebergs is also energy intensive and poses significant risks.

From Wikipedia:
“The ice trade, also known as the frozen water trade, was a 19th-century and early-20th-century industry, centering on the east coast of the United States and Norway, involving the large-scale harvesting, transport and sale of natural ice, and later the making and sale of artificial ice, for domestic consumption and commercial purposes. Ice was cut from the surface of ponds and streams, then stored in ice houses, before being sent on by ship, barge or railroad to its final destination around the world. “

This was a genuine proposal in the 1970s in Saudi Arabia. The main issue is that it would be extremely expensive, and it would mostly have melted by the time it got there.,Newfoundland%20to%20the%20Canary%20Islands.