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Global water resources are under pressure due to increasing population and diminishing conventional water resources caused by global warming. Water scarcity is a daunting global problem which has prompted efforts to find unconventional resources as an appealing substitute for conventional water, particularly in arid and semiarid regions. Ice is one such unconventional water resource, which is available mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic. In this study, opportunities and challenges in iceberg utilization as a source of freshwater were investigated on the basis of a systematic literature review (SLR). A search in three databases (Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest) yielded 47 separate studies from 1974 to 2019. The SLR indicated that harvesting iceberg water, one of the purest sources of water, offers benefits ranging from supplying freshwater and creating new jobs to avoiding iceberg damage to offshore structures. Economic considerations and risks associated with iceberg towing were identified as the main limitations to iceberg harvesting, while environmental impacts were identified as the main challenge to exploiting this resource. Assessment of trends in ice sheets in Arctic and Antarctic across different spatiotemporal scales indicated that the main sources of icebergs showed a statistically significant (p < 0.01) decreasing trend for all months and seasons during 2005–2019.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.