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How Does a Water Tower Work?


A water tower is a simple device, which is used to store water for use during high volume water intake periods (during the morning or early evening), pump failures, power outages, etc.

High Towers, Pumps, and Peak Performance

A water tower is built so high off the ground so that the water inside does not need the assistance of pumps or other equipment to reach the households and businesses to which it is connected. Water towers are reliant solely upon gravity to distribute the water housed inside them to the users of the water system to which it is connected. Each foot of height pressurizes every square inch of the water inside the tank. An average city water supply runs between 50 and 100 psi (pounds per square inch).  In order for a water tower to reach each house to which it is assigned, it must first meet pressure requirements. Water towers are, on average, between 120 and 200 ft. depending on the size of the water system and how many residences and businesses are linked to the water system.

Where Does the Water Come From?

In most cities, the water consumed by residents comes from one of three sources: a well, river, or reservoir. In order to make the water from these sources drinkable, the municipal water treatment plant removes sediment as well as bacteria through filtration systems and UV light and chlorine. Once the water has run through the water treatment plant, it comes out completely germ free, clear, and drinkable. This clean water is distributed to the city’s water tower through a high-lift pump, which sends the water to the water system’s primary feeder pipes, to which the water tower is connected.

How Do Water Tower’s Save Water?

Water towers bring efficiency to a municipality’s water supply as it allows the pump size to be set based on an average water demand as opposed to a peak water demand. Not only does this save a city a lot of water, it also saves them lots of money. For instance, if peak water demand for one city is 2500 gallons per minute at 8:00 am, then the municipality can rely on the water tower to fulfill the peak demand needs for a couple of hours until things settle down again. At night when water usage falls dramatically, the pump can refill the water tower so it can handle the next day’s peak performance hours, and so on.



“ – Water Tower Facts.” – Water Towers. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2012.

“Water Tower Level Monitoring and Pump Control .” Banner Engineering Corp.. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2012. <>.

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