Water Tower Facts

How does a water tower work?

Water towers provide extra water storage for a town's water supply. They hold about a day's worth of water, so if the town's pumps fail (like during a power outage), the water tower acts as a backup water supply. Water towers are built high up because they need the pressure produced by the elevation of the water to push water into the town's water pipes, so no pump is needed.

But, mainly a water tower is used to handle excess demand, like in the morning when people wake up and get ready for work (going to the bathroom, showering, brushing their teeth, etc.) all around the same time.  At night, when their is almost no water usage, the water tower refills itself from the town's water supply. A pump is used to get the water up into the water tower.


• Water tower heights are typically 120 ft, the height most sufficient to pressurize a water supply system.

• Water towers are constructed of concrete, steel, or brick.

• Sometimes water towers are also used as observation towers.

• In Sindelfingen Germany the water tower has a restaurant.

• The city of New York in the 1800s required that all buildings higher than six stories must be equipped with a water tower on the rooftop.

• Rooftop towers reserve water at the bottom of the tanks in case its needed to fight a fire.

• The water tower in Novi Michigan reads, "Birthplace of the Novi Special" with a picture of the automobile on it.

Most water towers hold 50 times more water than an average backyard pool.

• In most circumstances, a water tower's tank holds about 1 day's worth of water (for the community it serves).

• The water tower in Ellsworth Illinois is painted to resemble a gigantic baseball.

• Water towers are helpful for pilots of small private planes. They help the pilots locate small towns. Most of the time towers have the town's name painted on it big enough to read from the air.

The world's tallest water sphere is located in New Jersey, west of Liberty International Airport.

• The city of Havana Illinois has a 300,000 gallon tank that was built in 1962.

• Volunteer Park in Seattle Washington has a water tower with an observation deck.

• The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left few buildings standing. The Chicago Water Tower was one that did not burn in that district. In fact, it was the only public building that survived and the only one that still stands today.

• The Warner Bros. Studios Water Tower which is located in Burbank California was used in the animated television series 'Animaniacs'.

• The Earful Tower which stands at the Disney Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Florida has a pair of mouse ears on it which resembles Mickey Mouse's ears.

• The water tower in Ypsilanti Michigan was voted "Most Phallic Building" in 2003. The contest was held by Cabinet Magazine, a non-profit art & culture periodical.

• The Peachoid water tower (located just off Interstate 85) in Gaffney South Carolina resembles a giant Peach and holds one million galloons of water.

Most water is pumped out in the morning. This is usually the time people in the community wake up and shower, shave, brush teeth, flush toilet, etc before leaving to work or school.

• In 1974 the water tower in Florence Kentucky was painted by a contractor to read the words "Florence Mall" on it to promote the new upcoming shopping mall in the city. However, shortly afterwards the mayor ruled it a violation since the mall wasn't due to be completed til 1976 and it was promoting something that didn't even exist. Well, long story short...the easiest and best solution was to just replace the M in the word Mall with a Y'. The result was "Florence Y'All", which still stands today.

• The water tower in Rochester Minnesota is painted to look like a gigantic ear of corn.


• Small towns in the U.S. generally use their water towers to advertise their local high school sports team. Some advertise local tourism or local notable facts about the town.

The North East Lincolnshire England water tower known as the Grimsby Dock Tower has a model of it constructed entirely of legos at the Legoland in Windsor.

• In Thorpeness, Suffolk, UK the water tower was converted into a house in 1977. The building today currently has five bedrooms, three bathrooms and is known worldwide as The House in the Clouds.

The Jumbo Water Tower in Colchester Essex, England was named after an elephant named Jumbo. The tower currently has a viewing platform and has been granted permission to build an apartment as well.

• The water tower in Cowden Illinois (just off Elm St.) has a picture of a covered bridge on it and reads, "Covered Bridge Country" on it.
In Scranton Iowa (1907) during severly cold weather the water tower's mains became frozen. As a result the local leaders decided to build a fire underneath to melt the ice.

• Orebro Sweden built the first "mushroom" tower in the early 1950s.

The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is painted on the water tower in Collinsville, Illinois next to route 159..
• The water tower in Stockton California reads, "49ers Summer Camp" and includes a pitcure of the San Francisco 49ers football helmet.

• The water tower in Tulare California reads, "They've Got It" and has a straw sticking out of the top.

• The water tower in St. Louis Missouri is painted to resemble a huge bottle of Vess lemon lime soda.

• In Fairmount Indiana, the water tower has a picture of Garfield and James Dean painted on it. Dean grew up in Fairmount and Garfield comic strip creator Jim Davis was born in the small town.