You may have noticed a water tower rising up over your town, but you may not have given much thought to how it works. Practical Engineering has a nice video overview of this important piece of infrastructure, which municipalities use to store and pressurize water in public distribution systems.
During off-peak hours, pumps fill the water tower, which creates potential energy (and therefore, water pressure) that depends on the height of the water level. If you’ve ever lost power, you can appreciate how the water tower ensures that your faucet still runs. Without power, there are no pumps to pressurize the water line. But with the hydrostatic pressure of water in the tower, your water will still run like normal. For many people who live outside of municipal water zones, that’s not the case. A loss of power means an immediate loss of water also since the pumps that work their wells go offline. (Video and image credit: Practical Engineering)