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Developers want to build more water parks in Arizona. Does the state have enough water?

Arizona has a couple of water parks under development. But they might not be as devastating to the state's water supply as you might presume.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A massive resort centered around a six-acre pool in the middle of the desert seems...odd to say the least. 

Especially when the Southwest is in the middle of a 22-year drought that isn't stopping. 

The VAI Resort in Glendale will be a massive 60-acre complex built around that pool. It's currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2023. 

The City of Maricopa recently approved construction of a surf and water park that will include two waves pools and a lazy river. PHXX Surf has not broken ground yet. 

But water parks and huge resort pools may not use as much water as you think they do. 

“It's probably not the best signal to send," said professor Matt Feldman of the University of California Irvine. Feldman is a professor of urban planning who's been looking at water parks for years. 

RELATED: No, closing Arizona's golf courses would not alleviate the coming water shortage

But optics aside, Feldman said, water parks are not the most water-intensive form of recreation. 

“If we're going to single out water parks," Feldman said, "we might want to also think about golf courses, which are probably used by fewer people on average than water parks.”

Feldman said most water parks recycle their water. And while it does take a lot of water to fill the parks the first time, it's takes much less water to maintain them. 

Feldman said an average size waterpark needs about one or two acre-feet of water to fill. An acre-foot of water is about 350,000 gallons, which is also the amount of water three households use in a year. 

Put another way, it takes three to six households of water to fill up an average-sized water park. And Arizona gets 2.8 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River, and much more from groundwater. 

“We also have to consider the alternatives," Feldman said. "If people were not going to this waterpark, would they be at home or somewhere else using water?"

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