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Water & Sanitation

This Marine Expert Wants to Tow an Iceberg to Cape Town to Solve the Water Crisis


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Cape Town, South Africa, could still become the world’s first major city to run out of drinking water. The UN’s Global Goals seek to ensure that all people have access to an adequate amount of clean water and sanitation facilities so they can live healthy and productive lives. You can join us in taking action on this and other issues here.

A marine salvage expert has a titanic idea for solving Cape Town’s water crisis.

Nick Sloane, whose team was responsible for salvaging the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship in 2013, wants to tow a massive iceberg more than 2,000 kilometers (more than 1,200 miles) from Antarctica to the South African city to potentially provide its denizens with 150 million liters of freshwater every day for a year, Quartz reports.

Take Action: Urge Governments and Businesses to Invest in Clean Water and Toilets

“At the moment, they’re monitoring the winter rainfall figures,” Sloane told Quartz. “They will decide in August if this is required or not.”

The ideal iceberg would need to be one kilometer in length, 500 meters across, and 250 meters deep with a flat surface, according to Sloane’s calculations, which would supply up to 30% of the city’s annual needs.

But first it has to get there.

Towing the iceberg, which will require wrapping it in a textile insulation skirt to prevent premature melting, could cost up to $100 million, Quartz notes. But if the city gives Sloane’s team the green light, private investors are allegedly prepared to fund the entire experiment.

“We’ve got private investors standing by on the wings to fund it,” he told Quartz.

Read More: Heavy Rains Save Cape Town From Running Out of Water — For Now

Cape Town has been predicted to run out of drinking water by sometime in 2019. The currently unspecified date is commonly referred to as Zero Day. In response, the municipal government currently mandates that Capetonians use no more than 13 gallons per day and are restricted to two-minute showers twice a week.

"No one should be showering more than twice a week at this stage,” Helen Zille, South Africa’s premier of the Western Cape province, said in January. “You need to save water as if your life depends on it, because it does."