CRYSTAL LAGOONS AROUND THE WORLD
“The world’s largest swimming pools” create coasts and beaches for everyone in places where waterfront living was never possible.”
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that living on the water with a beach at the doorstep is ideal, but it’s also true that the amount of property still available on the water declines as sea- and lake-front properties are developed. One solution to create waterfront living is to build artificial islands as has been done in Dubai. Another is to create crystal lagoons.
The best way to explain a crystal lagoon is to show pictures of some of the 300 lagoons built or under construction in 60 countries. A lagoon is much larger than even the biggest swimming pool, costs much less to build, and is much more sustainable to operate. It brings a waterfront lifestyle to places where it was never possible or even dreamed of in the past.
ORIGIN OF CRYSTAL LAGOONS
Fernando Fischmann is a Chilean biologist who became a developer and then returned to biology to make one of his developments a success. In 1997 he began building the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile. Although the resort was on the coast with its own beaches, rough seas made swimming dangerous, and Fischmann decided to build an artificial lake.
That didn’t work because the salt water from the ocean made the lake smelly and the water turned green. Whatever Fischmann tried to clean it didn’t work, and so he went back to biology to figure out a way to make a working artificial lagoon. It took until 2006 for the solution to come, but in 2007 Guinness World Records learned about it and awarded Fischmann’s invention the title of “largest swimming pool in the world.” More than 8 hectares in size and filled with 66 gallons of sea water, at roughly the size of 20 Olympic pools, the San Alfonso del Mar lagoon was something new.
The success of that first lagoon created the Crystal Lagoons Corporation, headquartered in Santiago, with U.S. headquarters in Miami, and offices around the world from Brazil and Mexico to Thailand, and the UAE. The research centre is located in the Netherlands.
HOW A CRYSTAL LAGOON WORKS
Fischmann’s patented invention was to use sensors around the lagoon to test for bacteria and algae. Rather than dumping chemicals into the water at specified times as in pool maintenance, the sensors call for chemicals only when and where needed. The result, Fischmann told a Miami newspaper, “is our lagoons need 100 times less chemicals than what is normally used.”
Another part of the crystal lagoon operation is an ultrasound mechanism that causes algae and waste to adhere, so clumps can be removed by skimmers. The inside of the lagoon is lined with an artificial material that lasts up to 20 years and can come in various colours. Most often the liner is white because that creates the sky blue look of a Caribbean beach that most people prefer.
EXAMPLES OF LAGOON PROJECTS – SHARM EL SHEIKH
In December last year the 12.5 hectare lagoon at Sharm El Sheikh received the Crystal Lagoons Corp. second Guinness World Record: for the world’s largest manmade lagoon, breaking its own record set eight years earlier. Sharm El Sheikh is well known as a beach resort, but this lagoon is located inland in the desert.
At a cost of USD 5.5 million, the lagoon is part of a USD half billion dollar project called Citystars Sharm El Sheikh being developed by the Sharbatly family. The resort will consist of a 750-hectare mixed-use community with 30,000 residences, hotels, golf courses, marinas, museums, and a shopping mall.
The record-breaking lagoon is one of 12 to be built in the resort using salt water from underground aquifers. “What is truly unique about this project is not only its desert setting but the fact that, thanks to our technological innovation, we are able to take water that is not being used elsewhere, and make it a sustainable feature within a traditionally arid desert landscape, which adds tangible real estate value to the development,” said Carlos Salas, Regional Director Middle East, Crystal Lagoons.
The lagoons at Citystars Sharm El Sheikh will be sustainable. According to Salas,
“This is our first mixed-use project anywhere in the world where the technology will be used both for recreational purposes as well as for water desalination, thereby providing clean, fresh water for the entire 750-hectare community.”
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