Friday, December 17, 2010

Water Tower Power

The importance of conserving water has been a big hit with our nation lately. Record low water levels in our California rivers, lakes, and wells sweep the headlines every summer leaving many towns around the central valley in crises mode. My sweet little Dutch town of Ripon on the other hand, is prepared for a 40  year drought.

There's a few things that Ripon has got right, one being its ratio of water towers to Riponian citizens, the other being the ratio of police officers to Riponians. We are prepared for a water shortage as well as any war that may be waged over our water.

How many water towers does one town with a population of 14,738 people (two thirds of them being Dutch) need, you may ask? Four. That's right, four water towers. Two of them being the size of large cruise ships.  For comparison purposes I will throw out this little factoid: Ripon's neighboring ugly-cousin-of-a-town, Manteca ,with a population of 65,028 has one and a half water towers. I will explain the half later.

The first water tower I will mention is Ripon's "Old Water Tower." It is located near downtown Ripon, off of Main Street, near the newly renovated fire station and is visible from Highway 99. When I started writing this blog, I was going to wow you readers with water tower facts, such as how many gallons each water tower holds, the year it was built, and how many people have climbed to the top without getting caught. Unfortunately, I cannot find such information so I will provide you with my expert estimation.  The old water tower is silver and well... old. It can hold approximately 100 average sized suburban pools inside it.  It is as tall as the tallest building in Ripon...maybe even taller. I enjoy this water tower, because it is simple, no frills or fuss about it.

Ripon's Old Water Tower

The second water tower is the City of Ripon Water Tower. It is the second largest water tower in Ripon. It is located on Jacktone Road and can be seen for miles away. The City of Ripon Water Tower can hold approximately 200 average sized suburban pools of water in it. The City of Ripon Tower is an off white color, says "City of Ripon" on the top portion, and has the city's logo on it. It is big and splashy. It is Ripon's way of flaunting it's money and power to all those who pass by.

City of Ripon Water Tower

The third water tower is the newest and biggest. Mistlin Sports Park Water Tower is big and bold. It is located inside of Ripon's highly acclaimed Mistlin Sports Park. The tower has a two level walkway around it near the base, which I don't quite see the excitement in, perhaps they are trying to avoid those crazy Ripon bungee jumpers from having too much fun. The tower can hold 500 average sized suburban pools of water with no problem. The side of the tower says "Mistlin Sports Park" and has pictures of various athletic equipment on it. The roof of the water tower is painted to look like a soccer ball, so for all of us flying our private helicopters, we won't miss it.  There is a water fountain park located within Mistlin Sports Park. It runs year round. It is Ripon's way of smacking California's water shortage in the face. It is also a fun place to take little kids. I will let you be the judge of it.

 Mistlin Sports Park Water Tower with adjoining water park

View from the top

The fourth water tower is the Kat Country Water Tower. The Kat Country Water Tower is halfway between Ripon and Manteca. It is on private property and surrounded by random palm trees. The water tower is an older style and serves as a billboard for the radio station Kat Country. The sign has a picture of a creepy jaguar or perhaps a panther, lurking beyond the words Kat Country 103. The tower holds approximately 80 moderately sized suburban pools of water. I am going to assume that because the water tower is halfway between Manteca and Ripon that if either city would need to utilize the tower, they would have to split the water or pay an outrageous water usage tax. We all know that Manteca would be the first to use up the precious water, seeing as Ripon has plenty of water to go around. This is probably one of Ripon's Dutch money making schemes that might actually work... and I applaud them for it.

Kat Country Water Tower

Creepy Cat

There's those palm trees...

While researching water towers, I have learned that there are people who travel the world in search of various water tower locations. They post a picture and the exact location using latitude and longitude coordinates then post their "find" online. If I were to enter a water tower waymarking challenge, I would have an unfair advantage seeing as our water tower per capita ratio is out of control.

However silly Ripon may be with its water hoarding, I rest assured that during the driest of days, my mouth will be quenched with the sweet taste of Ripon's finest water tower water. Thank you Ripon. Thank you for your water tower power.


  1. Nice post Jessica. I had a shop right under the KAT 103 tower on Palm avenue, the water is not potable, they use it for irrigation mainly and it's privately owned. Another interesting note is the owner gets paid $1300 a month for the sign space by KAT 103, I asked about renting it...until I found out the price.

  2. Why thank you Terry. If I had known about your shop, I could of interviewed you for my blog or something nerdy like that. I think Ripon would use the Kat Country water for almonds, while Manteca would use it for the less amazing pumpkin crop? Too bad the sign costs so would be cool to put a Crossfit sign up there, then make everyone run to it on running days.

  3. Jessica, very informative. In your research did you come acroSs when Ripon passed the 10k population mark? I've been away too long!

    Merry Christmas,

  4. How can you be sure there is water in the towers?

  5. Tom, I think it hit 10,000 in 2000 or so with the housing boom. Merry Christmas as well!

    They are either filled with water or almond milk.

  6. Thank you for this post. It is a beautiful and informative post that I have never seen. Great job and it will be good if you continue.
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