fun facts to know and tell


Water Tower, SOHO, NYC

I’ve often wondered why many buildings in NYC have these ancient, wooden water towers on top.

But why should you wonder when you have Google?

From How Stuff Works:

In a city, tall buildings often need to solve their own water pressure problems. Because the buildings are so tall, they often exceed the height that the city’s water pressure can handle. Therefore, a tall building will have its own pumps and its own water towers. In the following picture, taken from the Empire State Building in New York City, there are at least 30 small water towers visible on the tops of these buildings!

Another interesting fact about water towers — they can affect your insurance rates! During a fire, the water demand increases significantly and may greatly exceed the capacity of the pumps at the water plant. A water tower guarantees that there will be enough pressure to keep water flowing through the fire hydrants. Fire insurance rates are normally lower in a community in which the water system has water towers.


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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2 Responses to fun facts to know and tell

  1. Bruce Parker says:

    huh. not surprised. in march i stayed on the 22nd floor of the minneapolis hilton. the water pressure for the shower was one of the worst ever. next time, i’m looking for a lower floor. to hell with the view. it was only downtown minneapolis anyway.

  2. MaryMadigan says:

    I still don’t know why those water towers don’t freeze in the winter (as they would in the arctic north of Minnesota), and I don’t know why they all look so shabby, but it’s nice to know that they’re useful.

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