Saturday, April 4, 2015

Could an iceberg help California's water woes?

The idea has been bandied about for decades:  could we tow an iceberg to a place where the contained water could be obtained by melting to help alleviate parched areas of the world?  Well, the place I'm thinking of now is California, which would be a long trip for the big tabular bergs from Antarctica that might really make a difference, but I wonder if the bergs spawned by glaciers in Alaska might work.

This article comments on the idea in general, not for California:  Could we really tow an iceberg to make drinking water?

Note:  there really is iceberg water available for drinking - Bergwater: Harvesting Icebergs

The current problem in California underscores the need for more and cheaper energy (i.e., nuclear).  If you don't think it's cheaper, then you don't realize the problems accruing from not having enough.  If we had plenty of generating capacity, we could run desalination plants, which would reduce the demand on reservoirs like Lakes Mead and Powell and Tuolomne that are going lower inch by inch.  (Not to mention the groundwater that is getting drained from below California.) 

Somebody might mention that nuclear power plants need water for cooling.  But nuke plants can be cooled with seawater, and the steam can be used to get steam-distilled water.   It works.  We just need the energy.  Read:  Advanced Applications of Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Plants, Chapter 2.

Better than towing an iceberg by far. 

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