Construction of a New Water Tank to Strengthen Campus Supply

February 8, 2017

A photo of the new water tank currently under construction, dated January 2017.

A photo of the new water tank currently under construction, dated January 2017.

University Facilities helps ensure that the university has a reliable supply of safe drinking water. The Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS), a regional water utility provider, serves as our primary source.  The University owns the distribution system that provides 23,000 students with water for domestic and sanitary purposes as well as fire protection.  State regulations require mid-size community systems such as Clemson’s to maintain a storage reserve of two hours of combined peak hour usage and fire protection; or one half maximum day usage, whichever is greater.  As our campus continues to grow, our need to keep pace with these regulations is driving the construction of a new water tank near Kite Hill.


Clemson University had its own conventional water treatment plant until February of 1989.  At that time, it began purchasing water from Duke Power Company.  Duke Power owned and operated a water treatment plant on Lake Hartwell near Anderson, SC, and provided water service to the university and other public utility systems within the region. During this time, the campus received its water through a 24-inch transmission main along US 76 from Anderson to Clemson.  In May of 2002, Duke Power sold their water supply facilities and operation to the Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS).


Photo of the Kite Hill standpipe water tank.

The current Kite Hill tank is an example of a standpipe water tank.

The current Kite Hill water tank was erected in 1958. While its existing standpipe storage can contain up to 1 million gallons of water, only about 150,000 gallons is usable due to limitations intrinsic to its design.  The university has an estimated critical water need of 450,000 gallons per day with a typical daily water consumption of 1,000,000 gallons per day.  As the campus population increases, facility growth on this system will require our water storage capacity to be significantly improved by 2018.  Building a new water tank near Kite Hill encompasses planning for the replacement of both the Clemson House and Kite Hill water tanks with a single tank installation. Doing so will consolidate and increase the overall usable water storage to satisfy the main campus’ long term water storage requirements. 

Benefits to the University

Replacing the current Kite Hill water tank with a new elevated storage tank will benefit the campus in a number of ways:

  1. In the event of a major water disruption such as pipe burst, the reserve water supply in the new campus elevated tank will increase from less than 8 hours to over 2 days in tandem with campus emergency conservation response planning (e.g. no outside water use).
  2. The new tank will allow us to use the full 1-million gallon capacity; the old tank was limited to 150,000 gallons.
  3. It would serve as the university’s long term solution to satisfy requirements for back-up pressurization and capacity for a licensed distribution system.
  4.  A larger working volume tank will be an improved pressure buffer to the water transmission and pumping system operated by ARJWS
  5. A single large capacity tank will allow ARJWS to pump water at lower cost off-peak times which may help control future water rates and lower peak time transmission line velocities, thereby delaying the need for future water transmission line capital improvements assessed as part of our future rate increases by ARJSW.

In addition, the water tank would serve as significant landmark for the University.

While our aim is to increase overall capacity, our intent dovetails with campus efforts to conserve water. Growth, not waste, is the impetus to this project.  With this upgrade to our supply, Clemson University will be able to support campus drinking water needs beyond 2035.