How do you get water to the top of a skyscraper?
They tower so far above us, but how is water available in that top floor office or penthouse? It’s a complex feat of engineering that had to go through a few trials.
Until the 1940s, gravity tanks were used to get water to high floors. The city’s municipal water would be pumped into the gravity tank, with the pump turning on and off as needed. However, by the 1950s and 60s, as more people began using high-rise buildings, gravity tanks became a significant problem, as they were in need of constant maintenance.
In the 1950s and 1960s, gravity tanks were abandoned in favor of pneumatic pressure tank systems that propel water upward. In their early trials, those systems worked better, but the pipes were subject to corrosion and were not customizable, so some buildings experienced better results than others.
Today, the same method applies but with many improvements. For high rise buildings, numerous tanks are used every few stories. Water comes from the city’s main lines into the tanks, and the water is pumped to applicable parts of the building. The pipes that are used are much more customizable than they were in the 1960s, so it’s possible to create systems that work for different types of architecture.
With a lot of engineering and know-how, water can now get where it needs to go, making sure the top floor of a tall building gets access to the same clean, potable water that is accessed on the ground floor.