Towed iceberg for water to relieve drought

A topic we used to hear about. Could provide water to southern California. LA, San Diego.

They seem to have decided desalination is a better solution.

What ever happened to the towed iceberg idea?


Saudi Arabia considered it one time (late 1970s).

California does have some seawater desalination, but it supplies a rather small amount of total requirements. One of the desalination plants is located near me, built next to a natural gas-fired power plant. It is supposed to be the largest desalination plant in the US, but still only supplies about 8% of the water needed in just the county of San Diego. I believe there is another plant farther north in Orange county, of about the same size. There might be some other desalination plants in the works, but right now, most of the water comes from the Sierra Nevada mountains watershed.

See the following link, if interested, which shows the water management in the state.

From the link, the large majority of fresh water in California goes to agricultural use (40%) and for maintaining “environmental” conditions in the rivers and wetlands (50%).

As for the idea of towing icebergs from Antarctica to arid regions of the world, it sounds like an interesting engineering project. But I would like to see some more details on exactly how it is done, and of course the cost. The United Arab Emirates, mentioned in the link in the original post, recently built four large nuclear power plants, with the help of some South Korean companies. That would be one way to supply fresh water to desert countries with access to the ocean. Desalinating seawater is easy. All it takes is energy.

  • Pete