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What's the Purpose of the Water Tower?

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  • #31
    Re: What's the Purpose of the Water Tower?

    Bob D, I don't know about down East, but there in Mn. every small city has it's own well, filtration plant and water tower. Owned by the city.


    • #32
      Re: What's the Purpose of the Water Tower?

      I used to inspect water towers (specifically for corrosion damage that would affect the towers integrity structurally) on military bases. There are several reasons for having them, but realize a tank on a hill provides exactly the same thing:

      First, the height of the tank provides pressure (a little less than 1/2 psi per foot). This enables a community to continuously provide a set water pressure. The altitude of your building in relation to the tower(s) that supplies it will determine your pressure. On a high rise building, they either have to have good pumps with back-up power, or a tank up at the top of the building. In that case, the higher floors get the least pressure.

      Second: It provides an emergency water source under pressure. This is where the volume of the tank suspended overhead comes into play. Considering that the first thing to go in a severe weather emergency is usually the power, its nice to have some fire-fighting capability when it will be most needed.

      Third, it is a pressure regulator: In many towns, the ability of the pumps from wells or reservoirs is unable to meet peak demands. As long as the volume in the tank can make up the difference, no one using it is the wiser. Where the pumps are high pressure, they are just used to fill the tank, so none of that pressure is passed through the water mains. This also allows a larger city to direct the pumps to the industrial/commercial section for the day and the residential for the evening.

      Those are the technical reasons. Shaping them to look like a pickle or painting them to look like a baseball are purely cosmetic, as is the billboard use for youth to profess their "undying love", all which may be noble reasons for using them, but does not affect the main reason for their being.

      As for cleanliness, I have seen many that were clean and well maintained. I have also seen some that were loaded with rust, had holes in the top, and one had dead pigeons floating in it. (Sorry, plumberscrack: that one was just outside DC, but that was 15 years ago). On one, the catwalk around the tank was so corroded that I had to walk on the side supports, because the walk platform was gone, and the rail of the ladder to climb up the side of the tank broke off in my hand (150 ft above ground). Depends on the community (sometimes that money you pay on your water bill does go to good use!!)

      Last edited by Gofor; 04-22-2009, 10:43 PM.
      Practicing at practical wood working


      • #33
        Re: What's the Purpose of the Water Tower?

        I am in the "big city" and we have lots of water towers. But they are not towers in the sense of the big tank on stilts, with the high school mascot painted on them. They are mostly in-ground tanks, located on high ground. Most people never see them or even know they are there.

        Towers provide a steady, and more or less constant, pressure to the system. It would be difficult to do that with just pumped mains.