Standing 153 feet tall as the City’s welcome sign is the historic Santa Ana Water Tower. It is one of the most visible and highly recognizable landmarks in Orange County, situated on the corner of Poinsettia Avenue and 14th Street. The tower was erected in 1928, nearly 60 years after William Spurgeon established the town of Santa Ana on 74.27 acres of land purchased from the old Spanish land grant, Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
At that time, it was the primary repository of water for the approximate 30,000 residents of Santa Ana. And while its role in the City’s water system today is less prominent, it holds an important place as a symbol of the City and its rich historical heritage. It marks the intersection of downtown and residential neighborhoods, the juncture of railways and highways…the crossroads of the old and new. The tower is one of more than 120 landmarks on the Santa Ana Register of Historic Properties. You can read more about Santa Ana’s history by visiting the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society at www.santaanahistory.com.
In addition to queries about the tower’s history, the Water Resources Division receives many other questions from residents each year. Following are answers to some of the most common questions.
Q. Is it still in operation?
A. Yes. The City uses the tower to store approximately 800,000 gallons of water. It supplies water to the local area, which includes the Davis Elementary School where the tower is situated. The tower’s capacity was reduced from its original 1 million gallons when a seismic retrofit was required to comply with safety standards.
Q. How safe is it?
A. The tower was retrofitted to meet all California seismic engineering standards. The City continues to monitor those standards for all updates and to ensure the tank meets those standards.
Q. What is the tower’s role in our current water system?
A. It serves the water system in several ways. First, it provides a storage capacity of 800,000 gallons. Second, it helps sustain water pressure in the network of ground level and underground tanks by acting as a shock absorber to surges in the water system that can happen when valves and pumps turn on and off.
Q. Do you plan to keep it in service and for how long?
A. Yes, we do plan to keep it in service and anticipate it will be a part of our distribution system for many years. We inspect the tank annually, which includes engineer reviews for its functionality.