The municipal waterworks in Podolí is situated on the right side of the Vltava river between Vyšehrad and the swimming pool in Podolí. It is both technically and historically a very interesting building.
The history of the waterworks dates back to the second half of the 19th century. With the rapid development of Prague a problem with an increasing demand for water arose. The waterworks in Podolí started operate in 1882 – that time it was called the Vinohrady waterworks – as it was meant to supply with water the Royal Vinohrady which was until 1922 an independent town, after Prague and Brno the third largest In Czechoslovakia. It did not take long and several other districts, Žižkov, Nusle, Vršovice and Strašnice started using the waterworks as well, later even Karlín, Smíchov and the Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana).
In 1908 a new source of water started being used – the Jizera river. In 1913 the new waterworks system was finished and the old Vinohrady waterworks could be shut down. However it soon became clear that the water supply as it was would not be sufficient and a blueprint for a new modern waterworks was drawn to meet the needs of Prague.
The gigantic building was built in 1925 – 1929 based on the project of Antonín Engel. The waterworks was completely reconstructed in 1992 and nowadays, apart from supplying Prague with fresh water, it serves as a museum of waterworks in Prague. There is a great view of the building from the river, if you take one of the long river cruises you will see the building once you have passed Vyšehrad.
If you have ever wondered where fresh water in Prague comes from, here is the answer: it comes from two sources. First, about 75% from the Želivka river – about 60km south-east of Prague and second, the rest, from the Jizera river. The water from the Jizera is said to be better and tastier than the water from the Želivka. The waterworks in Podolí takes water from the Vltava river and serves as reserve supply of water.