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Iceberg Harvesting – from scams to innovation


The world’s longest lasting ice shelves are rapidly melting. But there are always enterprising folks who will turn disaster into profitable ventures. Harvesting water from icebergs, once scoffed at as ludicrous, is now a growing industry. But it’s one filled with both scam artists and legitimate businesses. <image:shutterstock>

Dutch businessman Guus Backelandt’s iceberg bottled water brand, Iceberg Water, is one of the legit ones. He produces 50,000 bottles of water each year, with up to 100,000 expected in 2014. Even more fantastical, French engineer Georges Mougin has created a system for towing icebergs so that thirsty people around the world can enjoy their bounty. He hasn’t actually started towing these behemoths yet, however.


Among the scam artists is Otto Spork, a former dentist who created Iceland Glacier Products, a bottled water company that was supposed to sell fresh water from an Icelandic iceberg. Spork’s venture caved after he disappeared with $20 million in investor money. Remarkably, he’s now selling his water under a different name.


With water tables dropping and droughts in many parts of the world, water is becoming a precious commodity. Perhaps harvesting icebergs will become the “go-to” resource, along with desalination, for countries solve their water issues. It’s definitely an exciting 21st century innovative solution.

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