Built in 1896, the Tirtanadi Water Tower is not an ordinary structure in Medan. It is known as Medan’s true icon, standing tall in the middle of the Medan traffic, along the intersection of Sisingamangaraja Street and Pandu Street. The Water tower of Tirtanadi is not only the city’s landmark but is very useful in draining water to every corner of Medan city.
Known as a legacy of the Dutch colonization, the water tank was completed in the year 1908 with Building no. 3D-036. It was previously called the Water Tower in the Pandu Street but later on became known as the Tirtanadi Water Tower. It is located right at the crossroads of Sisingamangaraja Street, Cirebon Street, Hi Ani Idrus Street and Pandu Street. The Tirtanadi Water Tank has been part of the Tirtanadi Regional Water Company under the label of NV Water Leiding Maatschappij Ajer Beresih, with headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands and established on September 1905. When the North Sumatra Bill No. 11 of 1979 was enacted, the company was permitted to use another name; hence, it is called the Regional Water Company Tirtanadi.
Until today, the century-old water reservoir still looks well. With the increasing water demand in Medan, it can no longer serve every resident in the city, however. Trapped by tall buildings, one could not view the water tower from afar due to congestion. The Tirtanadi Water Tower has been designed to contain a reservoir of water and assist in maintaining water pressure in Medan’s water system. It can hold sufficient water to maintain constant force for the water’s mains and serves as a buffer supply when the demand goes up. For more than a century, it has been used to hold the city’s backup supply of water and is capable of providing water even during pump failure or power outage. It is also used as a backup water supply to make sure that even small areas can have water even for a day.
Similar to the ancient water towers seen in Europe, its unique design reflects a neo-renaissance style of architecture, influenced by the Dutch architectural style that is usually seen in many ancient Medan buildings. Aside from being a city icon, it is one of the significant landmarks showing authentic Dutch architecture including old City Hall, the Central Post Office and Titi Gantung.
Nowadays, Medan is already an ever-growing metropolis and a progressive town in Sumatra Island. While several contemporary buildings have already been constructed, this ancient structural icon still stands along the street of Sisingamangaraja. Often referred to as the Eiffel Tower of Medan, the base of water tower is made of strong bricks and the reservoir is supported by durable, thick steel trusses.
Most ancient water towers around the world have tended to decline and deteriorate. The Tirtanadi Water Tower is now a landmark and has become a protected monument that often has other functions. It is also one of the most interesting structures in Medan and is commonly visited by almost all tourists and visitors in the city. Access to the water tower is very easy as it is next to the main street in Medan.