Icebergs to Africa?

October 4, 2013 11:54 am

Every year much of impoverished Africa sees water droughts that would make Britain’s occasional “hose pipe ban” seem like a day in heaven. In 2011 alone it is thought that tens of thousands, perhaps 100s of thousands of Africans died in what became known as the East African drought. That was not a one off case and in fact happens every few years in some shape or form. In many parts of Africa, they live in a constant state of drought and inhabitants are left to fend from themselves, often drinking from dirty wells (the luckier ones) or relying on charity aid.

A new solution is being considered that might help ease some of the drought problems that occur in these African countries. Large icebergs can be towed, according to some in depth research by Dassault Systemes, for the cost of around $10 million. It is estimated the a 7 tonne iceberg would lose around 38% of its mass by the time it got to Africa providing a very large amount of water for locals. However, there are some clear problems such as how will they get the iceberg out the water and convert it to drinking water and what happens if the currents are against the ship dragging the gigantic bit of ice. Another problem is that the process is expected to take five months which would mean that we would have to predict the very worst of these droughts before they actually happened.

So is it feasible? Well Dassault Systemes seem to think so and with plenty of people lining up to sponsor and back the operation, it most likely won’t be long until we see a piece of ice the size of Buckingham Palace arriving in East Africa!

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