Sometimes they are typical giant globes on a pole, other times they resemble a spaceship. Tower reservoirs have one thing in common – they rise high above the surrounding buildings. Thanks to the principle of connected containers, it ensures that water reaches even the highest floors of block of flats and apartment buildings in general. Aktuálně.cz brings you another part of the Hidden Places series, this time from a “forest” reservoir in the Kladno district of Rozdělov.
It is difficult to imagine the panorama of the Czech landscape without tower reservoirs. Some are blue, topped with a giant silver ball, others resemble medieval towers or flying saucers. Many have been in service for decades. Just like the reservoir in Kladno’s Rozdělov, which celebrates 60 years of operation this year. It provides water for a district with almost a thousand households, in case of emergency it can also serve other parts of Kladno, including the nearby hospital.
Rozdelovský reservoir. | Photo: Jakub Plíhal
He is also in charge of the famous Rozděl tower blocks – six thirteen-story buildings from the 1950s that belong to the symbols of Kladno. It was because of them that the reservoir was created in 1963. The original water tower from the 1930s was no longer sufficient after their completion. Capacity and height.
Tower reservoirs are not only used to collect water, they also ensure sufficient pressure in the water network using the laws of gravity and the principle of connected vessels. How strongly the water will flow in the highest floors of the towers is determined by the level in the reservoir. It must be higher than the taps of consumers. “The Kladno water reservoir is 52 meters long to secure even the top floor,” says Lenka Kozlová, manager of the technical department of the Kladno Mělník Waterworks, i.e. the company that operates the facility.
Distribution towers from the roof of the reservoir. | Photo: Jakub Plíhal
Rozdělov, which the editors of Aktuálně.cz visited, is not a typical tower reservoir. It is surrounded by a star-shaped reinforced concrete skeleton, which makes the building one of the most architecturally valuable of its type in the Czech Republic. It also has an interesting location, the reservoir stands above the treetops of the Rozdelovo forest.
When entering the “stem” or foot of the reservoir, one’s head spins. That when he looks up. He can see up to the reservoir several tens of meters above. But the view resembles a spiral, because of the spiral ramp that leads to the top. There are three massive pipes in the middle – one pumps water up, the other releases it by gravity into households. The third serves as a waste when cleaning the reservoir.
Local legend says that the spiral ramp was chosen by the builders instead of the usual staircase in order to facilitate the access of the staff. So the maintenance workers can ride up there on motorbikes. “They used to ride on babets or fichtles. It was a lift for them,” confirms Kozlová, referring to the popular mopeds from the era of communist Czechoslovakia.
Only up the ramp. | Photo: Jakub Plíhal
It takes a few minutes to climb up on foot. Walking along the spiral ring combined with looking into a depth of several tens of meters will cause vertigo in anyone who is afraid of heights. Moreover, the journey does not end even after 11 revolutions of the ramp, when one reaches the room under the two tanks. “When one is being cleaned, the other is in operation,” says waterworks worker Tomáš Bartoš. Each can hold up to 500 cubic meters of water, they are usually two-thirds full.
Nowadays, the tower operates completely unmanned. Filling and discharging are controlled by remote dispatchers. It is mostly pumped at night. By keeping almost the same volume of water in the tank at all times, the building fulfills another function – it evens out fluctuations in consumption. “The biggest peaks are in the morning and in the evening, when people come home from work. Or when an important hockey game is being played. Everyone runs to the toilet during the break, and consumption skyrockets,” Kozlová describes.
At that very moment, the reservoir ensures that there is always the same pressure in the pipeline. “The need is also in the first summer days, when residents of the entire street can say at one moment that they would like to fill the pool,” Bartoš adds another example.
From the room under the tanks, another path leads up the ladder. There are two of them. First one by one, then one by one, one reaches the space above the tank. A circular room painted white and interwoven with several larger and smaller pipes and electrical wires awaits him. Installed meters make sure, for example, that the level in the tanks does not fall below the necessary minimum.
The water is clear. | Photo: Jakub Plíhal
You can check it with your own eyes. Just open the hatch and the view into the tank is revealed. It’s dark inside. But shining a flashlight reveals that the water is completely clear. “Its quality is monitored at the source, in reservoirs and at the points of consumption. Water is the most monitored commodity,” Kozlová points out. A ladder for maintenance workers also leads into the tank.
Another hatch leads up to the roof of the reservoir. Since the building is the tallest in the area, it also serves as a water tower. The roof is planted with all kinds of satellites and covered with a mess of cables – the space here is rented by operators. You can see far from here – the view to the east covers almost the whole of Kladno, to the south part of Křivoklátsk and to the north you can make out the hilly landscape of the Český středohoří.
Not to be overlooked is the nearby water tower from the 1930s. It no longer serves its original purpose – today it is used as a waterworks control room and hides a meeting room instead of a tank. Just as other reservoirs become, for example, museums or even apartments. However, the tall structure in the Rozdělové forest, which you have to leave again via a spiral ramp for mopeds, has just been renovated. It is expected to serve the local tower blockers for some time to come.
Reservoirs in the Czech Republic
The main purpose of reservoirs is to store water. But it also serves to ensure sufficient pressure in the water supply network, to balance the differences between water inflows from the source and household withdrawals. They should also provide enough water in case of fire or accident. Reservoirs can be above ground or underground, they are often dug, for example, into hills. In a flat landscape, this is replaced by tower reservoirs. Among the most famous Czech reservoirs, although no longer in use, are the Old Town Water Tower near the Charles Bridge, the Letenská Waterworks or the Brno reservoirs on the Yellow Hill.
Video: Rozdělovský water reservoir supplies the Kladno housing estate and the local thirteen-story tower blocks
Reportage from the Kladno reservoir | Video: Tomáš Klézl
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