If you have wanted to build a water park in an area that is currently in the midst of a drought, you know that your plans might not be seen in the best light. But there are ways to manage water use at a water park so that the place doesn't use that much water. Several water parks are still in use in places like California, and they are succeeding because of two things: a knowledge of how their water use compares to that of other industries, and making modifications that capture water and selectively support different areas of the park.
They Really Don't Use That Much in Comparison
In the October/November 2012 issue of "World Waterpark Magazine," the Hotel and Leisure Advisors group compared water use (in gallons per capita per day, or GPCD) between two waterparks and a few other industries, as well as the average water use of a residential home.
The two waterparks used about 37 and 40 GPCD of water. In contrast, the family home used about 70 GPCD for indoor use only. Movie theaters used about 5 GPCD per customer; public swimming pools used about 10 GPCD per swimmer; and hotels used a whopping 60 GPCD per two-person room. The waterparks' usage pales in comparison to that.
However, image is everything. A waterpark's water use is blatantly visible, while a hotel's use is not. So the waterpark gets the criticism, and no one says anything about the hotel.
Modifying Rides, Landscaping, and Collection
That means any waterpark in a drought area has to take serious steps toward water conservation. Some previous moves have included:
- Closing certain attractions on different days
- Letting landscaping outside the park's core area dry up so that irrigation water can be concentrated on core landscaping
- Special water filters that don't lose as much water when cleaning it for re-use
- Capturing condensate from air conditioners -- the Guardian notes that the Seaworld and Aquatica water park in San Antonio can capture 162 gallons per hour per building
- Erecting wind barriers like planting trees to reduce wind-driven evaporation and splashing
If you are determined to build your waterpark, start comparing the water use of industries around you with your projected use. Talk to a waterpark and pool management company to see what water-saving policies they offer, and work out plans to make your park as water-thrifty as possible. The more you show that your park won't threaten the water that's available, the better your chances of getting approval to build.