If You Thought Neom's 105-Mile-Long Building Wasn’t Dystopian Enough, It's Also Building a Huge Water Park in the Desert

  • The new Neom project plans to install the first inland surf pool in the middle of Saudi Arabia’s desert.

  • Aquarabia is set to open in 2025 and will feature 2,270 feet of slides and 22 water rides.

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It seems at least a bit questionable to build a water park when half of the planet is suffering from an ongoing drought. However, Saudi Arabia is now proposing to take this a step further by building a huge water park in the middle of the desert. What could possibly go wrong?

After doubts about the viability of The Line, a linear smart city under construction in Saudi Arabia, the Middle Eastern country is embarking on a new dystopian project named “Aquarabia.” It’s yet another piece in Neom's series of ambitious projects aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil and gas and transitioning it towards a future focused on tourism and technology.

Aquarabia, or How To Build a Water Park in the Desert

According to a Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) press release, Aquarabia is a large water park associated with the project that will be build in the city of Qiddiya. This new project will be part of the Six Flags theme park network, alongside a Dragon Ball-inspired theme park.

Requiring less infrastructure than other projects, Aquarabia is expected to open to the public in 2025, although the press release didn't specify an opening date. The main challenge will be ensuring a water supply in the middle of the desert.

Neom 1 Surftopia, a huge surf pool in the middle of Saudi Arabia’s desert, will be part of Aquarabia.

The PIF’s press release doesn’t provide information on the exact size of the water park either, except to say that it’ll have 22 rides. Yet, designers at WhiteWater, a park design firm, have given more details about the park. According to WhiteWater, it’ll include equipment for family activities and restaurants spread across eight themed zones with 2,270 feet of slides.

In addition to the usual slides with varying inclines and heights, the park will feature Surftopia, the country’s first inland surf pool. As explained by the designers, “the pool will deliver the most authentic surf experience outside of the ocean with its limitless wave customization potential and surf zones to accommodate surfers of all skill levels.”

The biggest question around Aquarabia is how officials will manage the water needed to operate a water park in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. Saudi authorities have assured the public that their project will be sustainable because it’ll include recycled water systems for irrigation and cooling of the facilities, as well as the implementation of controls to prevent water waste.

However, they leave one question unanswered: Where are they going to get the water needed to fill all these pools and attractions?

Image | WhiteWater

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