FOUNTAIN HILLS — The Fountain Hills fountain used to be billed as the world’s tallest because it shot a column of water as high as 562 feet into the air. Then a fountain in Illinois topped that mark, but it didn’t operate year-around so the Fountain Hills Fountain became a “Sometimes World’s Tallest.” Now it is neither.
As an anonymous Arizona Oddities reader points out, the King Fahd Fountain beats them all. It blasts a tower of water 1,024 feet above the Red Sea on the coast of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. King Fahd donated the fountain to the city after it began operating in 1985. The water it ejects can come out of the nozzle at a speed of 233 miles per hour and the airborne mass can weigh more than 18 tons. It uses saltwater taken from the Red Sea, and is illuminated by 500 spotlights every night.
Despite that setback, the Fountain Hills fountain is still one of the five tallest in the world, and it’s still impressive as it uses two of its three engines to shoot a 330-foot spire of water skyward most days. The third engine is idle most of the time, conserving energy while acting as a backup. The fountain fires away at the Arizona sky for 15 minutes every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.