In 2012 I went into Manhattan with some Photography Club friends to take pictures at Chinese New Year. On the walk from Penn Station to Chinatown we were all taking pictures and I noticed all the old wooden water tanks on the roofs so started photographing them.
New York City's water flows from upstate reservoirs through hundreds of miles of tunnels into city mains and arrives with only enough pressure to supply water up to the sixth floor of most buildings. Since the late 1800s, owners of taller buildings have employed pumps in the basement to carry water up to a wooden tank on the roof.
There are from 12,000 to 17,000 of them.
The Water Tank Project started in 2014 will paint
tanks to raise awareness of the global water crisis.
Artist Eteri Chkadua is one
of a hundred artists who will contribute. WNYC
Check later. I've got more.
The move follows an investigation by The New York Times that found that regulations governing water tanks were rarely enforced and that some tanks contained E. coli, a bacterium, found in feces, that is used to predict the presence of viruses, bacteria and parasites that can cause disease. The presence of E. coli suggested that animals had gotten into the tanks, experts said.
Daniel Kass, a deputy health commissioner who is in charge of water tank oversight, wrote a letter to the editor saying that of "the 534 samples the Health Department has collected at buildings over seven stories high since 1985, not a single one tested positive for E. coli."
Health Officials to Propose Tighter Monitoring of Water Tanks - NYTimes.com, April, 2014
The Water Tank Project - Painting tanks to raise awareness about the global water crisis.
NYC Water Towers: A New Canvas for Artists - WNYC, 2014