South Africa has, on average, more than 250 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal climate for outdoor recreation. But the country’s sprawling and fast-growing urban centres, especially those inland, provide little by way of water amenities close to where where people live, work or play.

Water innovation and technology company Crystal Lagoons, which recently launched into the South African and broader African market, has developed a way to create environmentally friendly crystalline lagoons at very low construction and maintenance costs. Crystal Lagoons can use any type of water – fresh, salt, or brackish – to provide a sustainable solution for the efficient use of water resources. The lagoons are ideal for a wide range of recreational activities, including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing, all within a safe environment, providing exceptional value to real estate projects and people who want to live at the water’s edge.

Patented in 160 countries, Crystal Lagoons’ technology was first conceived when scientist and entrepreneur, Fernando Fischmann, dreamed of creating a large, crystal-clear lagoon to provide swimming and watersports facilities to visitors to the San Alfonso del Mar real estate project in Chile. He travelled the world looking for technology that would be able to maintain a large body of water efficiently, and resolved to develop his own when he couldn’t source it.

Conventional swimming pool technology requires maintaining high and permanent levels of residual chlorine or other disinfectants in the water to provide permanent disinfection to the pool and avoid contamination of the water brought by external agents such as bathers. Crystal Lagoons’ solution is to apply disinfection pulses of very small quantities of oxidants/micro-biocides within the lagoon applied according to specific algorithms in very specific patterns. The result is that the amount of additives consumed is up to 100 times less than used for swimming pools. A typical lagoon has about 400 sensors/injectors for such purposes.

The company’s crystalline lagoons make good business sense in any development, increasing selling prices and selling velocity and opening up previously unfeasible locations to development, according to Alastair Sinclair, Crystal Lagoons’ Regional Director for Africa. “Crystal Lagoons has disrupted the real estate market in every country it has entered by challenging the real estate paradigm of ‘location, location, location”.

“Crystal Lagoons’ technology is environmentally friendly as it involves very low water consumption because the lagoons work on closed circuits, using up to 30 times less water than a golf course and just half of the water required by a park of the same size”.

“This is of huge benefit to a country like South Africa where both water and energy are scarce resources. It creates opportunities for the large tracts of undeveloped inland areas, as well as the possibility of converting less accessible parts of our vast coastline into safe recreational areas for families to enjoy,” he adds.

Crystal Lagoons boasts a portfolio of 300 projects in different stages of development in over 60 countries. The 12.5-hectare lagoon at the Citystars Sharm El Sheikh tourist development in Egypt bested the company’s previous Guinness world record-breaking project – the iconic, 8-hectare San Alfonso del Mar lagoon, in Algarrobo, Chile.

Located in the middle of the desert in one of Egypt’s most luxurious coastal areas, this project productively accesses salt water derived from underground aquifers, transforming unusable land with no commercial value into a beautiful amenity, 5km inland from the famous tourist destination of Sharm El Sheikh.

Crystal Lagoons is currently transforming the world-famous Las Vegas strip into a beach-front paradise, with cerulean turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. The development is expected to add an exciting new dimension to an already vibrant tourist destination, whose location in the Mojave Desert had previously made a watersports venue on such a large scale unimaginable.

“There is a lot of interest from local developers who are looking for an amenity to set themselves apart, especially in residential developments with no access to water for leisure activities. We look forward to enabling developers to unlock greater benefits in their projects, whilst improving the lives of residents,” says Sinclair.

This article was first published in Property Wheel on 13 June 2016

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