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To allow gravity to provide the pressure in the system. The alternative would be for powerful pumps to be used and that would be an expense

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Q: Why water tanks in tall buildings are placed at the top of the buildings?
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Tall buildings are found in well developed urban areas, where civic infrastructure is in place that includes water supply to buildings. This water that is sent to buildings comes from treatment plants that ensure the water is clean and safe for drinking (potable). Once treated, the water is then pressurized in pipes that carry this water to the building. In most cities, the pressure level in these pipes provided by the city is somewhere around 50 pounds per square inch (psi). When a tall building is constructed, this means many toilets, sinks, showers, and other plumbing fixtures are very high in the air. Once the pipes that carry water turn from horizontal to vertical to carry the water to upper floors, they must overcome the force of gravity. The force on the ground of 50 psi can only elevate the water inside the pipe up to a height of about the 5th floor of the building - while still having enough pressure left to run the fixture. Thus, floors higher than this must get pressurized water some other way than merely relying on the pressure in the pipes from the city water supply. There are many ways to achieve this. One way is to add pumps on the ground level that boost the water even higher. The problem with doing this (and only this) is that if several people on several floors all use plumbing fixtures at once, there will not be enough water pressure. To prevent this from happening, storage tanks are placed high up in the air and these tanks are filled with water throughout the day (even when no fixtures are used). From the storage tank, pipes carry water downward, with the force of gravity, to the fixture. By having this stored water high in the air, many people can use plumbing fixtures all at once, and there is plenty of pressure from the water overhead to meet this demand.


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