By Parag Deulgaonkar
"We are in the second stage of the plan and are optimistic of getting ... Government approvals by year-end"
The plans to tow icebergs from Antarctic to Fujairah is moving ahead, according to National Advisor Bureau (NAB) managing director.
His comments come after the UAE Ministry of Energy said there was no truth to the news circulating about the idea of getting an iceberg or importing water through a pipeline from another state.
“We call upon the public to avoid the circulation of such rumours and verify news and accuracy before publication,” it said, as it reviewed the final draft of the UAE water security strategy.
تؤكد وزارة الطاقة بأن لا صحة للأخبار المتداولة عن فكرة إحضار جبل جليدي أو استيراد المياه من خلال خط أنابيب من دولة أخرى.— وزارة الطاقة | UAE (@MOENRUAE) May 15, 2017
Speaking to Arabian Business, Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi, NAB managing director, said the company is collaborating with French engineer Georges Mougin to finalise its plan.
“We are in the second stage of the plan and are optimistic of getting UAE Government approvals by year-end.”
He disclosed the company may not eventually tow icebergs from Antarctica, but may drag one floating in international waters.
“We may tow an iceberg floating in the international waters since it not owned by anyone. An iceberg contains about 20 billion gallons of fresh water and by getting it to the UAE – the entire country will benefit. We will have potable water, and water for irrigation making the country greener.”
This month, the Abu Dhabi-based company said the “UAE Icebergs Project” aims to tow icebergs to Fujairah and is part of the “Rub’ El Amer” (Filling The Empty Quarter) project, designed to transform the empty quarter deserts into gardens, including the Khalifa River project, designed to connect Pakistan’s rivers to the UAE through undersea pipelines.
While Al Shehi said he will seek partners for his venture, he ruled out plans to set up any water bottling plant.
“We will use crushers to crush the iceberg and transport the water through tankers,” he said.