An exciting new source for bottled water is melted icebergs. Iceberg water is the most technically challenging and physically hazardous bottled water to produce. Specially equipped boats are required to lift the ice out of the sea and return it to shore for rinsing, melting, and bottling.
As icebergs can flip and threaten to sink a boat at any time, extreme caution must be taken. The weight and logistical difficulties mean only limited quantities can be gathered.
Icebergs are formed through “calving”, which is when chunks of ice break off a glacier into the sea. The icebergs then drift with ocean currents and eventually melt. There are only a few places in the world where icebergs are harvested: the remote arctic coasts of the Svalbard Archipelago, western Greenland, and eastern Canada.
Harvesting icebergs for enjoyment as fine water utilizes a resource which otherwise would have been wasted and contributed to global sea level rise. Scientists have also found that the increase in iceberg calving due to global warming is damaging fragile polar seafloor marine environments. Drastic reductions in biodiversity have been observed in some regions where more icebergs are scraping the seafloor. While the scale of the iceberg water industry is small, every berg harvested does reduce the damage that can be done to the arctic marine environment.
Great care needs to be taken in selecting the right icebergs. They must never have melted and refrozen which would introduce impurities. Experienced gatherers are able to identify ice which fell as snow thousands or even tens of thousands of years ago. That snow was then buried inside ice layers, trapped by successive snow falls, and moved to the center of a glacier where it remained protected until calving into the sea. Icebergs which came from the bottom or side of the glacier must be avoided as these will have picked up sediments and potentially been exposed to modern pollutants. The ice in properly selected bergs has virtually no impurities since it fell in the pre-industrial era. It has a soft, light and airy taste, with the lowest mineral content of almost all bottled waters. Iceberg waters have a great story and are perfect for making ice cubes for special cocktails.