Sheikh Zayed Bridge Waterfall, Dubai’s Manmade Cascade

Dubai’s man-made waterfall

photography by: Omri Westmark

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We all know that without natural rivers, waterfalls would simply not exist. That is, unless you are talking about Dubai. In a city which defies its desert climate with ski resorts and ice-rinks, it is only plausible to expect a water cascade as well. Plunging from one of Sheikh Zayed Road’s bridges, a beautifully lit waterfall is the centerpiece of Dubai Canal, a brand-new artificial waterway.

In recent decades, there hasn’t been a city which manipulated its geography to such an extreme extent as Dubai. The Arabian megalopolis boasts a series of mega projects, including a world-shaped archipelago, entire new peninsulas as well as multiple artificial waterways.


Inaugurated in 2016, Dubai Canal as its name suggests, is a 3.2-kilometer-long manmade inlet, whose width fluctuates between 80 to 120 meters. The area along the waterway is home to massive hotel complexes, hundreds of restaurants, upscale apartment blocks, a lavish esplanade and also several bridges astride the canal.


What would otherwise be an unassuming overpass for vehicles turned into a fata morgana, when the Sheikh Zayed Road Bridge over the canal was installed with an artificially-created waterfall. Dropping from a height of 8.5 meters, Dubai’s manmade falls comprise of two separates waterfalls along both sides of the road, each of which is made of 20 independent cascades.


To operate this whimsical water spectacle, 80 pumps draw seawater from the nearby canal before discharging it back from high above. The incessant stream of water continues all year round, except for the times when the fall’s sensors detect an incoming vessel and temporarily cease the flow. Unlike its nature-dwelling counterparts, Sheikh Zayed Bridge Waterfall is strikingly embellished with vivid and colorful illumination during the night, most often than not with purple and blue lights.