A satellite image of part of the one trillion ton 5 800 square km iceberg which broke away as part of the natural cycle of iceberg calving off the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica in July. Picture: REUTERS

I refer to Alan Carnegie's letter “Iceberg needed”, published on September 15, 2017. 

His idea is not unique, nor is it unrealistic. One company in the United Arab Emirates has come up with a bizarre plan to provide drinking water for the state's citizens. 

The firm intends to haul icebergs from Antarctica to the Gulf coast in order to harvest its billions of gallons of fresh water.

The National Adviser Bureau, headquartered in Masdar City, Abu-Dhabi, plans to source the massive blocks of ice from Heard Island, about 1 000km off the coast of mainland Antarctica. 

It will then transport them 8 800km to Fujairah, one of the seven emirates which make up the UAE. 

One iceberg could provide enough water for one million people over five years, according to the company. And the scheme could begin as early as the start of 2018. 

The firm's director says they have already travelled the transportation route and used simulators to check the feasibility of the scheme, according to reports in Gulf News. 

Speaking to the site about what he is calling the UAE Iceberg Project, Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi said: "Our simulator predicts that it will take up to one year (to tow an iceberg to UAE).

"We have formulated the technical and financial plan. Towing is the best method. We will start the project in beginning of 2018.

"We want it mainly for the water. It could also be good for tourism and the weather." 

The UAE is one of the most arid countries and one of the top 10 most water-scarce in the world. It receives less than 100mm of rainfall per year. 

Despite that, it consumes more water than double the global national average, putting the country at severe risk of droughts over the next 25 years.

This story was in the Mail Online on May 5, 2017, and should be a wake-up call to all South Africans, especially those living in the Western Cape. 

The UAE is showing the way for drought-stricken countries. Let's hope we follow.

Malcolm Phillips

Diep River