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Consequences of the Kalahari WHAT'S IN A NAME? OTHER BIG WATER USERS
Putting Kalahari Resorts' expected water use and traffic into perspective.

Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 12/8/2007

By Bill Freehling

INCREASED traffic volume and water use have been two common concerns raised by area residents since Kalahari Resorts last month announced plans to build a water park and resort hotel in Fredericksburg.

The indoor/outdoor water park and 710-room resort hotel, which would be located in Celebrate Virginia, would generate close to 1,000 jobs and provide an estimated $5.9 million in annual tax revenue to Fredericksburg.

But on an average day, the complex would bring about 4,000 vehicles into the area and use about 250,000 gallons of water, according to Chris Hornung, vice president for planning and engineering for the Silver Cos.

What follows is an attempt to put this traffic volume and water use into perspective.

--Compiled by staff reporters Bill Freehling and Kelly Hannon

The African-themed water-park hotel borrows its name, perhaps somewhat ironically, from the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. We asked William Schmitz, a climatologist in the geography department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to provide some information about the real Kalahari. Below are some snippets.

The name "Kalahari" is derived from tribal African words meaning "the great thirst" or "a waterless place."

The Kalahari has a semiarid climate, and droughts are frequent. The region gets about 8 inches of rain per year.

Most of the Kalahari is not a true desert. It supports some animals and plants.

WILL THERE BE ENOUGH WATER? That was an indirect question that we asked of Doug Fawcett, Fredericksburg's director of public works. And the answer, as you'll see below, is "Yes."

The city is projecting that Kalahari Resorts will use about

250,000 gallons of water per day

. Fawcett believes it's more likely to be lower than higher.

The city has capacity for

5 million gallons per day of water

. When the Motts Run Water Treatment Plant in Spotsylvania County is expanded, Fredericksburg will have an additional

2 million gallons of water per day


Between July 2006 and June 2007, the city's average daily use of water was

2.91 million gallons

. The average use was

3.26 million gallons per day

between April and September,

2.55 million gallons per day

in the other six months.

Therefore, even in the high-use months, Fredericksburg is projected to have an extra

1.5 million gallons of water

capacity after Kalahari's arrival.

WATER USE Where will the 250,000 gallons per day be used at the Kalahari resort? Chris Hornung of the Silver Cos., broke that down for us:


Hotel rooms


Water park




Public space


Meeting space


Retail shop

Hornung notes that the city and Kalahari are working on water conservation and re-use measures. The resort uses low showerheads in its other parks to conserve water, and its water-park water is cleaned and re-used.

All numbers are in gallons per day unless otherwise noted. FREDERICKSBURG University of Mary Washington:


Mary Washington Hospital:


Fredericksburg Hospitality House (formerly Holiday Inn Select):


The Free Lance-Star:


Three-bedroom home:




Augustine Golf Course:


(It was noted that golf courses have wells used to water the course. That number was for public water consumed in the clubhouse only.)

YMCA Massad branch:


Stafford Marketplace shopping center:


Apple Grove subdivision:


Widewater Village subdivision:


Cannon Ridge subdivision:


Public water use in entire county:

10.5 million gallons per day

SPOTSYLVANIA Cosner's Corner shopping center:


Harrison Crossing shopping center:


Total county use:

7.2 million gallons per day

--Public Works departments of Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg