In October 1977, the city of Ames, Iowa hosted the International Conference on Iceberg Utilization. The conference was sponsored by the Saudi prince Mohammed al Faisal, whose company was called Iceberg Transport International. Prince Faisal and other attendees had big ideas for making use of the massive blocks of ice, including towing bergs to the Arabian peninsula (estimated to cost a cool $100 million) or Southern California (only a $30 million job).
While the prince expected the iceberg hauling operation to be underway within three years, these plans never materialized. However, the dream has never disappeared. Work continues on finding cost-effective and logistically feasible ways of using icebergs to slake thirst in water-parched regions. One such project is being supported by Georges Mougin, an engineer who was part of Prince Faisal’s Iceberg Transport International team in the 1970s.