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It's claimed to be the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Flowing 108 meters (350 feet) down the glass exterior of the Liebian International Building in Guiyang, China, capital of Guizhou province, the waterfall measures about three meters taller than the previous record holder, the falls at the Solar City Tower in Rio de Janeiro.
Built by Ludi Industry Group, the waterfall system draws recycled water from reservoir tanks located in the building's basement. It is then circulated to the top of the outsized water feature by four giant pumps before fl owing from a giant weir down one side of the building.
Although the waterfall has been operational for two years, construction of the multi-purpose building remains ongoing. When finished the property will include offices, shops and a luxury hotel – but there's little doubt the waterfall is the building's most prominent feature.
Ludi Industry Group president Zhou Songtao said he came up with the idea as a way to promote the city's green image. "Guiyang is a city of mountains, and with many trees, just like a forest. We wanted to create a feeling of water and greenery, even when you are surrounded by skyscrapers," he said.
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The waterfall is currently only run for brief periods each day, usually about 20 minutes, and for longer stretches during special occasions. One of the reasons for its fleeting appearances is the operating cost, which is reportedly approximately 800 yuan ($117) an hour.
Despite its infrequent operation, the waterfall has nonetheless become an internet sensation, with several images and videos going viral worldwide. While some internet users are skeptical about the extravagant design and operating costs, far more are enthusiastic.
"The scene is very impressive. You seldom see a waterfall in a city," a passerby said in a video published on Pear Video.
Another social media user was far more ambivalent. "A price must be paid for an artificial spectacle, especially a large one like this. Whether it's a waste of money or worth more than the 800 yuan an hour is for the company to calculate."
When the waterfall debuted back in 2016, The Times reported, "People in the southwestern city of Guiyang telephoned newspapers to report what they believed was a massive water leak."
There has been speculation in the Chinese media that the operating costs could offset the cost of window washing.
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For more information or to view episodes of the program, visit extremewaterworks.tv.
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