‘It’s important for the Kingdom to incorporate sustainability to protect the environment.’
With the Saudi Green Initiative working to protect the environment and increase the country's reliance on clean energy, it’s essential that the Kingdom incorporates sustainability practices across all sectors and throughout every step of all mega and giga-projects being implemented in the country.
Jeremy Gray, VP Business Development of WhiteWater, a leading manufacturer and designer of aquatic entertainment, said: “WhiteWater has helped develop parks since the very start of the industry more than 40 years ago and it aims to help accomplish the Vision 2030 goal of establishing more than 600 entertainment attractions in the Kingdom by 2030. Our ongoing relationship with the best-loved entertainment brands in the region and the world is a testament to our commitment to guests’ and clients’ success.”
An established name in the themed entertainment and leisure industry as well as internal processes, WhiteWater aims to play its part in making Vision 2030 projects more environmentally friendly. The Kingdom, with several megaprojects underway, has the unique opportunity to set a global benchmark in best practices to achieve its Vision 2030 goals of sustainability.
Sustainable Water Parks
For any upcoming project, taking a sustainable journey is a must and when it comes to making an entertainment park sustainable, you need world-class designers to identify how they can work effectively with Mother Nature.
“Well-designed water slides can help mitigate water loss and power consumption, resulting in more eco-friendly operations and cost savings. Most of the water used in water parks can be recaptured and recycled,” Jeremy said.
“By prioritizing sustainability in every step of the process, starting with better feasibility planning while in the design process, having more consideration of the materials used, and during construction, we can better protect the planet and create the most environmentally responsible water parks in the world,” he added.
Making Smart Choices
Another key factor is the selection of the right equipment for water parks. A careful selection of the right equipment will result in only 2 to 3 percent of the current daily water consumption in parks.
Water parks are not the water wasters they are often thought to be. A golf course consumes twice the amount of water on average per day.
Engineers at WhiteWater use 3D modeling and proprietary simulations to determine, for example, exactly how much water will be used on a water slide to remove the risk of over-specifying pumps and reduce water loss.
“Getting the pump size of these attractions right means the landing pool where the ride ends will be the right size and uses less water, chemicals and concrete,” Jeremy said.
“The simulations also enable the team to predict where the splash-outs would occur so that optimal risers can be built to recapture the water back into the slide. These riders help to create an even more exhilarating ride for guests as they can soar higher on the walls of the slide.”
In a test conducted in 2016, the water slide was found to have a 55% power saving compared to the previous system used.
High-quality resin transfer molding (RTM) fiberglass is recognized for its quality to reduce the evaporation of water, which is especially important in warm climates. The selection of materials used in these attractions is crucial as the right materials would mean a longer lifespan of the product, reducing the need to replace the ride more frequently and produce more fiberglass further down the line.
“Companies are right to be fearful of greenwashing if their sustainability efforts are only communications focused. Given our fragile ecology and finite resources, organizations must choose to allocate time and money to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Una deBoer, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at WhiteWater.
Una added: “By identifying tangible actions, the leisure and themed entertainment industry is able to prove to consumers that we share their concerns and demonstrate how creating fun for them does not come at a cost to the planet.”
Exuding confidence about the Kingdom’s entertainment sector, Una said “It’s a privilege to work with parks that are going to propel the industry forward and offer guests the best experience possible. Given our fragile ecology and finite resources, it’s been rewarding to work with our partners and identify tangible actions that the leisure and themed entertainment industry overall can take to prove to consumers we share their concerns and demonstrate how creating fun for them does not come at a cost to the earth.”
Requiring a deliberate choice by the senior leadership, sustainability should not be treated as an “additional cost,” but instead be looked at for its lifetime value. Green is often more economic in the long term and more desirable for consumers. With the Kingdom embarking on several ambitious giga-projects, it is essential that sustainable practices are integrated into their design, development, and operations to not only ensure the preservation of the country's natural resources but also create a healthy and prosperous future for the people of Saudi Arabia. By prioritizing sustainability in giga-projects, Saudi Arabia can lead the way in sustainable development and inspire other nations to follow suit.