Magazine article The Middle East

A Water Bag Revolution

Magazine article The Middle East

A Water Bag Revolution

Article excerpt

THE TECHNOLOGY for ferrying fresh water by sea in huge floating polyurethane bags has been around for several decades. But leaps in bag development now make it possible to carry much larger volumes of water, and Middle Eastern governments are already pricking up their ears.

Most recent examples of bag use have been in support of military operations in the Gulf war and the Falklands conflict, but Greek island resorts have also been supplied with fresh water for their tourist industry. The difference now is that rather than carrying up to 1,000 cubic metres of water, new bags soon to be in production by the Medusa Corporation of Canada may be able to hold as much as 3.5 million cubic metres. Meanwhile developments in design by other companies will make the towing of multiple bags a far easier operation.

These advances are being taken up by the Alaskan government, which is proposing to sell up to one cubic kilometre of its excess water to Southern California and Mexico. This would entail journeys over distances in the region of 2,000 nautical miles being made by a tug towing bags.

In Britain, the Aquarius Development Group, backed by the Aden Rubber Company, is working independently on a modular bag transportation system and has held a series of discussions with Middle Eastern governments over the past three. years. Christopher Savage, a consultant engineer working with Aquarius sees enormous opportunities for solving the region's water deficit problems. The major source of surplus water for use in the region, he says, would come from the Malavgat river near Antalia in southern Turkey. The Turkish government is offering treated water from this source at $0.08 per cubic metre.

An obvious recipient would be the Gaza strip. Years of neglect, the ban on the Palestinian boring of new wells, and deep well drilling by Israelis have created a dire water situation that a short haul down the Mediterranean could solve comparatively easily. …

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