By Scott Prater
As people have probably noticed, Schriever’s upstart housing area has a new landmark. The new tower looming over the housing area is just what one might have guessed… a water tower.
Nearly every neighborhood has one. And in most places, communities use them to proudly announce their existence. Here at Schriever, the new tower will provide reserve water for the housing community and a much-needed supply of the wet stuff to fight a potential fire.
The as-yet unnamed tower, is approximately 155-feet tall and holds 300,000 gallons of water, basically enough to provide three days of water to the neighborhood, plus an additional supply for use in fire fighting. By comparison, a typical in-ground swimming pool holds 20,000 to 30,000 gallons.
The hulking structure was designed by civil design manager Shay Miles at Actus Lend Lease and constructed by Phoenix Tank and Erectors. The construction company began foundation work in mid January.
“All that’s left for the completion of the water tower is the installation of the electrical components and the final painting,” Mr. Miles said.
Upon completion, lights will point up to illuminate the tank, and additional lights will hang from the railing near the bottom of the tank.
“We wanted to make it an aesthetic accent to the community, so we went with the Western theme,” Mr. Miles said. “It will be a uniform tan in color and the western motif will be accomplished by the hat-style roof and the western railing.”
Western motif aside, why must the water tower be so tall? The simple answer is: pressure. Each foot of height provides .43 pounds per square inch of pressure.
“You have to maintain 20 psi and 1,000 gallons per minute at all times,” Mr. Miles said. “That’s what drove the height of the tower. The more head (height) you have the more force you create with gravitational pull, so the higher the tank, the more pressure you have.”
The tank has no moving parts other than water and didn’t require any innovative or modern techniques to construct. Mr. Miles and hydraulic consultants, Woolpert, Inc., determined the correct height for the tower.
Typical of most water districts, Cherokee Water District pumps water to Schriever at a rate of 500 gallons per minute, but water demand in a neighborhood may reach upwards of 1,100 gallons per minute during peak demand times, such as in the morning, when residents awaken and take showers. In that case, the water tower would take over and handle the peak demand. Later, as demand drops off, the water tower refills.
The structure should be complete near the end of April. The final step will be connecting the tower to Cherokee’s main supply line. Once the connection is made, the tower should be operational and ready to begin its duty.