Aussies Living Simply

Water tower

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • Author
  • #249854

    This will be the first of many questions in this forum as we make our first serious moves to finally build our house.

    Our land has no water supply, so it’s tanks for us.

    In order to get good water pressure from your taps you need to have your water source higher than the house. Right? Else you would need some sort of ‘on demand’ pump.

    I saw this house once that had a wooden water tower next to the house with a tank on top of it.

    My question is, what type of tradesperson can make a tower like this? Who do I call for a quote?

    Is it the sort of job you can do yourself?

    Should I get a metal tower (as the house will be in a bush fire zone)?

    Anyone here have a tower like this?


    g’dau dobly,

    my guess is that in or near grafton will be a builder with such experience, for me i’d go for a steel tower, as i’m no good at heights i would want some sort of platform up the top so i could use a ladder to get inside or inspect insdie the tank or for servicing (or have permanent ladder fitted somehow), of necessary equipment. also i would still opt for poly and you need to order the tank with built in lugs so you can chain the tank down the tower, this with steel tanks as well. providing your not living among the gum trees fire might be of a lessor consequence for us at least 100 metrs from nearest forest trees further south they realy should consider 500 meters or +, again talk to locals.

    size of header tank depends on daily house usage but would guess at least 5k/l.

    then you need to fit float type sensors or similar to detect lowest and highest levels of headertank to automaticaly pump water from storage tank or you may run out of header tank water and go pump it full your self. still need someway to see when it is near full or feed overflow back into storage tank. you can fit floatation devices to show water level but they will need servicing at sometime or other.

    we gave that opion some thought but all seemed like an extra process and cost so we opted for an on demand pump and a management plan, had one of thos 10 litre bottle and pot like the water sellers ahve for all those daily uses drinking and cooking, instead of turning tap on for a splash of water here or there.

    so we guess the cost of the tank and tower and all else considered how much power is it going to save to bring the books into balance.

    also another thing to go wrong in storms or the like. so for us it would need to be far enough away from the house just in case.

    there is a formula for working out the right height for the pressure needed. someone local may be able to help there?

    our on demand pump was still in good service 6 years later. buy the right pump for the job. cost around $600 at the time.

    twin tub wash machine best way to manage water, along with nature-loo composting toilet no water used at all.



    Gday Dobly,

    I ‘m with len on this one. The cost and pain of building a tank stand would out way the benefits (I bet the Government would have all sorts of issues with the engineering and construction, if you were to mention it to them) Pumps are cheap and fairly reliable these days. If power failing is the issue setting up backup power would be simple.

    Having said that, I do use a gravity feed tank up on a hill, but no towers.

    Enjoy the Build:tup:



    gardenlen wrote:

    there is a formula for working out the right height for the pressure needed. someone local may be able to help there?

    Roughly a bit less than 1 psi of pressure to every foot of height upto the top of the water level.


    I don’t have a water tower however neighbours do and built it themselves. It was an interesting process getting that tank up there I believe!!

    It’s a few metres off the ground and isn’t that big, and what they do is pump up to it when they need to from the main storage and then let it gravity feed to the house. They’re happy with it however on their own couldn’t manage a larger tank (not sure what it is without asking) and therefore still have to use a pump. With their kids all grown up and gone the pump isn’t used as regularly as it might be with a family, something to consider. I don’t think I’d want a big high tower of water too close to the house either, as someone up above mentioned… :confused:

    We don’t have a hill of any description on our land so this wasn’t an option for us at all. We do have a tank on a stand though and pump up from the spring fed creek into it to gravity feed the garden.

    Our house water is collected off shed and house into tanks and pumped to the house when needed, except for small amounts as follows. We’re off the grid and the first pump we bought was too large and powerful so we downgraded to the minimum size we needed to run off solar and all is well. We have what I think is called a pressure tank which sits on the top of the pump and releases up to 5-6 litres of water (for those times when someone turns a tap on to fill a kettle or clean teeth, for example) without the pump actually turning on. The theory goes, I’m told, that next time the pump goes on it then fills this little storage thingy.

    In the kitchen we also have a container of water which sits on the bench holding many litres of water so the family takes their drinking water from that.

    Bye for now,



    so norml tap pressure is around 1k/l per hour how would that convert? so then as you want that pressure through the whole tank the measurement would need to be to the bottom of the tank is that correct on my part?

    yes by all means if you have a hill, we looked at that but reckoned the tank on a 6% slope would be around 30 meters up the hill how does that sound? have seen properties where their gravity feed tank is round 700 or so meters from the house/sheds up around an 8%+ slope long way to pump water to fill it hey?

    yep never thought of council permissions also insurance might want to know as part of their acceptance to liability, you know tell them what they want to know even if they don’t ask policy.



    gardenlen wrote:

    so norml tap pressure is around 1k/l per hour how would that convert?

    Dunno about that I just remember the rule of thumb from a friend who used to work in a water treatment plant

    gardenlen wrote:

    so then as you want that pressure through the whole tank the measurement would need to be to the bottom of the tank is that correct on my part?

    I’m pretty sure it needs to be measured from the water level, whatever it is in the tank at any given time, because the pressure would be greater when the tank is full compared to when it is nearly empty.


    okey dokey chuckle, someone may come up with it so the original poster can work out the extent of the tower if they still think that is the best way to go?

    all learning for me.



    hello dolby, Infomation from my OLD ibc esca engineering catalogue.

    1 ft head = .43 p.s.i.

    5 ft head = 2.17

    10 ft head = 4.33

    20 ft head = 8.66

    30 ft head = 12.99

    End of data.

    Not really enough to give the pressure we are all used to.

    We have a tank and in the line to house is a davey torrium pump which adds about 40 psi to the original pressure. It senses movement in the water with some electronic eye and turns on, so turn a tap on water moves and the pump kicks in. I prefer this to a pressure pump which can wander between the high and low settings and can be a pain.

    Poly tanks are the go as they are light and durable.

    I got ours on top of a 20 ft tower by building a steel ramp out of steel stud material and pulling it up with a rope from the tank over the tankstand to my ute driven by my wife. It got a bit stuck at the top edge of the stand so I tried to lift the edge while she reversed away.

    Unfortunatly she couldn’t find reverse gear and I starting to cramp up

    from lifting the tank I shouted some colourfull encouragement to her.

    (big mistake)

    She finally found the reverse gear and took off with a rush, I ended with only enough room for my toes and clinging to the downpipe like a rat. It was so well positioned on the stand that no more adjustment was needed.

    regards flicker.


    tried googling with no luck found one sight supplied plans for water towers but no help workig out how high the tower seemed a bit silly to they had an e/mail tech link but he wanted $150yankee per hour rate, with a minimum i forget to answer the e/m.

    what psi comes out of a town water tap?

    most towers i’ve seen have been around 15 to 20 foot high i think? dunno what pressure they give? may just be enough.



    Town water is by law required to supply a minimum 220KPA which is roughly about 32PSI which would make the tower to be at least 30 feet up.

    A 10 litre bucket should fill in less than 25 seconds to be considered reasonable pressure.


    thanks reid,

    that would be some tower unless there was a knoll or hill involved that in themselves may not be high enough but could be topped off wih a tower.

    yeh still best practise get a good water management plan going and use on demand pump.



    I lived in a house that run of a 20ft high tank, you can shower etc but you cant water the garded with a sprinkler, so not real pressure.

    Pressure pump switches that I use cut out at about 40psi. I have a header tank at about 22 meters, this gives us about 35psi. Similar to reasonable mains pressure.




    Thanks for all the info everyone. Me thinks that a tower is in the too hard basket. Not to mention the $$$ and hassle of getting one up. Oh, and getting up there to clean it. :tdown:

    I like len’s idea of a management plan. Just have a ‘big enough’ container in the kitchen for drinking and general water requirements.


    we use one of those water urns like they provide from those home delivery crowds holds about 15 litres. lots of ways to cut pump use down, friend has a power switch near the kitchen tap so pump never accidentaly gets used.

    and if you also incorporate those 44 gal drums to collect rainwater for clothes washing purposes.

    all helps. water management a good way to instill in the kids the importance of water.


Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.