An American company has recently patented a technique designed to wrap icebergs in huge plastic bags and tow them to places where they need the water.
The disadvantage with their idea is that you have to find the right iceberg with the right shape, and hope that it won't collapse and that it remains
stable in the water. You also have to assemble the plastic on the spot, depending on the size and form of the berg. This is time consuming and expensive.
A better idea might be to make relatively "small" artificial icebergs out of giant icebergs, using proven technologies. All the bergs would have the same size, so that you can wrap them in prefacricated polymer bags. Here's my idea.
1. Locate a huge iceberg in the Antarctic. They're easy to find on satelite maps and are permanently tracked [link 1]. Many of these bergs are longer than 10 miles, containing billions of gallons of fresh water.
The berg has to be located in a place where in winter, the sea ice sourrounds the iceberg (anywhere south of 60-65° south) and where in summer, the sea ice withdraws (anywhere north of 70° south). [link 2].
2. Install a few wind turbines on the berg. These bergs are so big and stable and flat, that they can easily be used as a platform. Antarctic winds are strong, and provide ample energy. The chances of the iceberg collapsing are very small. Many of these bergs remain intact for years.
3. Now locate your ad hoc iceberg factory a few hundred metres next to the berg, on the stable sea ice. And start building your own bergs, in the shape you want. This would be the perfect "ship like" shape, so that it gives least drag and resistance in the water when you tow them. (This would be a solution to an old problem; people have been thinking of how to carve bergs into the perfect shape).
4. You could make bergs the following way: scratch the surface of the big berg, using electric drills powered by the wind turbines, and pump these chips of ice into the enclosed space down on the sea ice. Spray a layer of chips, and water. It will freeze quickly. Then spray your next layer, and so on. You're working in layers of say one meter, and you have the plastic already folded out, so you're building the iceberg in a prefabricated plastic bag. This may take a few weeks.
5. While you're working in layers, embed the structural elements. You will be towing these bergs with giant kite-tugs [link 3], so you need to embed a rig. The steel rig will be frozen inside the berg, deep enough so that it will hold when you tow through warm waters.
6. When you're finished, just wait till the summer arrives and the sea-ice disappears. Your icebergs are now floating, and you can start transporting them.
7. The Southern Ocean has the strongest winds on the planet (except for high altitude winds like the jet stream). They're permanent westerlies. So you can easily use a sail technology if you want to tow them to South Africa or Australia only.
8. Launch your giant kite-tug, and sail your baby out of there.
9. After the water has been consumed, just reuse the bag and the rig.
(Moreover, the Madrid Protocol on mineral exploitation in the Antarctic, prohibiting exploration and commercial exploitation, explicitely excludes icebergs.)
I think desalination is easier, but this is more fun.