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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Madison Considers New Water Tower

Among the cool items discussed by the Madison City Commission last night was the West Water Tower at 4th and Union. According to the information in a summary by Banner Associates in the agenda packet (see page 14), that mighty 70-year-old tower is due for replacement.

Seeing the old tower go will be a psychic jolt. Out here on the prairie, we love our water towers. Along with our grain elevators, they are our skyscrapers, greater landmarks literally and psychologically than any plastic and brick besloganed signs our economic developers may erect at the city limits.

Quick Madison water and tower facts:
  • The West Tower was built in 1935 (hey! high time to use stimulus dollars to build a replacement!)
  • Madison doesn't use the West Tower during winter.
  • The West Tower is 25 feet lower than its yonger counterpart, the North Tower, up by the cemetery. (Why didn't they call it the East Tower?)
  • Since the two towers are both connected to the whole system, water doesn't move from the West Tower until the water level in the North Tower drops below that 25-foot difference. That creates a situation where the water in the West Tower could sit for too long, getting stagnant, lowering the chlorine level, and allowing microbes to grow.
  • Banner's recommendation: build a new tower to an elevation of 1845 feet to match the North Tower.
  • Madison's projected daily water demand by 2030: 2.546 milloion gallons (that's 1768 gallons per minute!).
I'll just say this: when they do decide to take down the West Tower, I hope they let bids for salvage. That old tower would make a spectacular lookout tower here on Lake Herman! Fellas, just think of the geese you could shoot from that tower!


  1. Let's make sure we have a large Bulldog on the new tower as a tribute to our local school district and its activities, including our band, athletics, theater, debate and others. Good way to show our Bulldog Pride!

  2. Well it is about time for a new water tower, the water pressure on the west side is really getting pathetic.


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