Posted on 20 July 2011.
What Is a Water Tower: An Introduction
We see water towers all of the time, yet many of us are unsure what exactly they do. Just what is a water tower, anyway? Put succinctly, a water tower is an elevated water storage system that we use to pressurize and distribute our water.
What Is a Water Tower: The Purpose of Water Towers
Domestic water supplies must be pressurized if they are to be considered safe. Insufficiently pressurized water can cause a slew of problems. Insufficiently pressurized water may not be able to reach the upper floors of buildings, or to spray forcefully enough. More dangerously, insufficiently pressurized water that flows over hilly areas may become negatively charge and suck in groundwater. This untreated groundwater is likely contaminated with microorganisms and harmful chemicals, and would pollute drinking water supplies. Water towers also help us by acting as a reservoir during peak water, or water shortages.
What Is a Water Tower: How Water Towers are Built
Water towers vary greatly in appearance and material. These pressurizing, elevated water storage systems have to be at least twenty feet tall. On average, water towers are about 130 feet tall. Water towers must be rounded, but can come in many shapes, like spherical and cylindrical. We can make water towers out of many different materials, like steel and concrete. However, we always line water towers’ interiors to protect water from absorbing these construction materials. Because water towers depend on hydrostatic pressure, they function even during power outages. Refilling the water tower, however, does require electricity. The water tower’s water supplies fall during peak hours, and then are refilled at night.
What Is a Water Tower: The History of the Water Tower
The water tower became popular during the Industrial Revolution, as growing communities recognized their need to pressurize and distribute water. Often these water towers were elaborately decorated—they were painted, or surrounded by brickwork or trellises. Many of these water towers are now perceived as architectural landmarks, and are therefore preserved for historical posterity. Today, many water towers form the highest point in several small towns, and they are therefore used as community rallying points. They are outfitted with antennae or warning sirens, and are sometimes used to advertise local happenings. In recent years, however, many people are switching away from water towers. Instead, they are constructing pumps on top of pipes to increase water pressure. While these pumps are more straightforward than water towers, they are potentially more dangerous. If the pumps fail, then the decreased water pressure might suck contaminated water into the domestic water supplies. What is a water tower? A safe device for storing and pressurizing water that is now being supplanted by less safe alternatives.
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