Water tower

A water tower in Mondeville, Calvados, France.

A water tower is an elevated structure supporting a water tank constructed at a height sufficient to pressurize a water supply system for the distribution of potable water, and to provide emergency storage for fire protection. In some places, the term standpipe is used interchangeably to refer to a water tower.[1] Water towers often operate in conjunction with underground or surface service reservoirs, which store treated water close to where it will be used.[2] Other types of water towers may only store raw (non-potable) water for fire protection or industrial purposes, and may not necessarily be connected to a public water supply.

Water towers are able to supply water even during power outages, because they rely on hydrostatic pressure produced by elevation of water (due to gravity) to push the water into domestic and industrial water distribution systems; however, they cannot supply the water for a long time without power, because a pump is typically required to refill the tower. A water tower also serves as a reservoir to help with water needs during peak usage times. The water level in the tower typically falls during the peak usage hours of the day, and then a pump fills it back up during the night. This process also keeps the water from freezing in cold weather, since the tower is constantly being drained and refilled.[citation needed]


Although the use of elevated water storage tanks has existed since ancient times in various forms, the modern use of water towers for pressurized public water systems developed during the mid-19th century, as steam-pumping became more common, and better pipes that could handle higher pressures were developed. In the United Kingdom, standpipes consisted of tall, exposed, n-shaped pipes, used for pressure relief and to provide a fixed elevation for steam-driven pumping engines which tended to produce a pulsing flow, while the pressurized water distribution system required constant pressure. Standpipes also provided a convenient fixed location to measure flow rates. Designers typically enclosed the riser pipes in decorative masonry or wooden structures. By the late 19th-Century, standpipes grew to include storage tanks to meet the ever-increasing demands of growing cities.[1]

Many early water towers are now considered historically significant and have been included in various heritage listings around the world. Some are converted to apartments or exclusive penthouses.[3] In certain areas, such as New York City in the United States, smaller water towers are constructed for individual buildings. In California and some other states, domestic water towers enclosed by siding (tankhouses) were once built (1850s–1930s) to supply individual homes; windmills pumped water from hand-dug wells up into the tank in New York.

Water towers were used to supply water stops for steam locomotives on railroad lines.[4] Early steam locomotives required water stops every 7 to 10 miles (11 to 16 km).

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Wasserturm
العربية: برج مياه
asturianu: Torre d'agua
azərbaycanca: Su qülləsi
Bân-lâm-gú: Chúi-thah
català: Torre d'aigua
čeština: Vodojem
dansk: Vandtårn
Deutsch: Wasserturm
eesti: Veetorn
español: Torre de agua
Esperanto: Akvoturo
euskara: Ur-dorre
فارسی: برج آب
français: Château d'eau
Frysk: Wettertoer
한국어: 급수탑
hrvatski: Vodotoranj
Bahasa Indonesia: Menara air
עברית: מגדל מים
Lëtzebuergesch: Waassertuerm
lietuvių: Vandens bokštas
magyar: Víztorony
Nederlands: Watertoren
日本語: 給水塔
norsk: Vanntårn
português: Castelo d'água
română: Castel de apă
Simple English: Water tower
slovenčina: Vodárenská veža
slovenščina: Vodni stolp
српски / srpski: Водоторањ
suomi: Vesitorni
svenska: Vattentorn
Türkçe: Su kulesi
українська: Водонапірна вежа
Tiếng Việt: Tháp nước
吴语: 水塔
粵語: 水塔
中文: 水塔