By Amy K. O’Brien, Associated Press California State Univ.
of California, Davis (AP) The mysterious water tower atop a campus campus on the edge of Sacramento is being hailed as an impressive achievement for a school that has long been known as a hotbed of high tech entrepreneurship.
“I think that’s the biggest story,” said Michael C. Johnson, a California State College professor of business and technology.
“The water tower is a great example of what’s possible with a university.”
The tower sits on the eastern edge of the campus near a river.
The water rises about 50 feet above the hillside and can be seen by thousands of people, but the water tower itself is largely hidden from view by a wall of trees.
The tower is part of the school’s massive campus expansion project.
It’s also part of an effort to boost economic activity and diversity on the college’s sprawling campus.
“This is a really significant project,” Johnson said.
“It’s going to create a lot of new jobs for the people who live on campus.”
A tower of water rises from the hilltop in Sacramento, Calif., on April 24, 2020.
The state’s water resources department says the water towers were built to help control the runoff of rainwater, as well as provide a source of water for nearby agricultural fields.
It also aims to boost the health of the surrounding area and the region’s air quality.
The towers will be used to manage the runoff from the Sacramento River.
They will also serve as a backup water source in case of an emergency, according to the university.
Johnson said the project is a response to a lack of reliable and safe drinking water.
“There’s a lot more than just a water tower,” Johnson added.
“We need to look at the whole water cycle.”
A building on campus.
The Sacramento River flows over a hilltop.
The university says the tower is an important part of its water management plans.
(AP Photo/David McNew) The water tower was completed in 2010.
Since then, it’s been the center of a tug-of-war between university officials and community groups over what they consider a breach in the building’s foundation.
The project has drawn the ire of the California Water Resources Control Board, which ordered the university to build a replacement water tower in 2021.
In January, the board ruled that the university had violated a California Water Code provision requiring a replacement tower.
The board also said the university could not retrofit the water building until 2020.
“If we do the retrofitting now, we can’t expect them to do the installation of the tower until 2021,” said Board Chairwoman Julie Johnson.
“They can’t wait that long.”
Johnson said construction of the new tower will cost about $1.2 million and take about two years to complete.
It will be a $1 billion project to replace the tower, which will be visible from the street and from the top of the hill.
Johnson says he is hopeful the new water tower will help the university avoid the kind of costly repairs that were made to the old tower in 2019.
“At the end of the day, we’re going to do this to improve the quality of life,” Johnson told the AP.
“And it’s going, at the end, to do that by improving the water cycle that’s on campus, by improving health and the quality and safety of the air we breathe.”
Johnson, who also chairs the board, said he hoped the university would eventually come up with a better way to deal with runoff from its water tower.
“For a while, I was kind of frustrated because they were doing these retrofits, and they were going, ‘We can’t get this building back to where it was, because it’s not right.’
But I’ve seen the tower’s been built, and it’s good,” he said.