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Water Pressure Formula

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Last updated date: 21st Jul 2024
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Water Pressure Formula in Detail

The concept of water pressure seems difficult to many students and many are not familiar with it. No matter what, you have to grasp it if you want to score good grades. Before directly diving into the calculations, equations and examples, it is better to understand the concept of water pressure, its basics and then move on to the calculations part. So let us first understand water pressure. 

The force applied perpendicular to the surface of the object area is known as pressure. Now, multiple units are used to depict the pressure. Out of which, some unit derives from the force per area. Likewise, water pressure refers to the force exerted per unit area of water flowing  through some channel or say pipe. 

Let us try to understand it by some illustrations. For instance, suppose a person is swimming underwater. The deeper the person swims, the more will be the water pressure. The pressure felt by the person is solely on account of the water above him. Not only this, but the water pressure also depends on the density of the liquid. 

More About Water Pressure Formula

We can calculate the pressure by the following formula:


                   P  =  F/A


P is the pressure in Nm-2

The force is measured in N, and 

A is measured in m2

Pressure is the force applied in a direction perpendicular to that of the surface of the object per unit area in which the force is distributed.

Talking about the pressure underwater formula, the water pressure formula helps us determine the strength of water flow through a channel or pipe, measured in Pascal or Pa. 

On this page, we will understand the way to calculate water pressure, psi to inches of water formula, also, water pressure calculator by height.

Water Pressure Equation

The water pressure calculation formula is given as:

                     P   =   ρgh


ρ   =  density of water in kg/m3

g  = gravitational force in 9.81 m/s2

h  =  height in m, and

P is the water pressure in Pa

Water Pressure Calculation Formula

Let’s derive the water pressure formula depth:

(image will be uploaded soon)  


In the above diagram, we see that the height of the container is ‘h,’ and Area is ‘A.’

We can see that the bottom of the container supports the total weight of the water in it. However, the vertical sides cannot exert an upward force on the fluid because it is not strong enough to bear a shearing force, and so that’s why the bottom supports it all.

As we see that the bottom of the container supports the weight of the fluid in it, which is given as;

                                       w  =  mg

Also, we know that the pressure is the weight of the fluid mg divided by A supporting it (here, A is the area of the bottom of the container, which is given by:

                                       P   =  mg/A…..(1)

The mass of the fluid is:

                                 m   =  ρV….(2)

The formula for the volume of the fluid inside the container is:

                                 V  =  Ah…..(3)


A  = the cross-sectional area, and

h  =  the depth

If we enter the values of (2), and (3) in (1), we get the water pressure calculator by height: 

                                    P  =  ρAhg/A


                                    P  =  ρgh…..(4)

Equation (4) is the required pressure underwater equation. This equation helps us to calculate the water pressure of a fluid.

Water Pressure Equation

The water pressure equation has general validity far off the special conditions under which it is derived here. Assume that the container was not there, then the surrounding fluid would still exert this pressure, keeping the fluid static. 

Hence the equation P = hρg represents the pressure due to the weight of any fluid having an average density ρ at any depth h below its surface. 

For liquids, which are nearly incompressible, the pressure underwater formula still holds to great depths. 

However, for gases, which are somewhat compressible, one can apply this equation till the density changes are minute over the depth considered.


1. There is a water tank with a height of 5 m filled with water. Using the water pressure formula, you need to calculate its pressure at the bottom. 

Density of water = 1000 kg/m3 

g= 10 m/s2

Height = 5 m

As a result, the water pressure on the tank will be 

P = hg 

P = 1000 x 5 x 10

P = 50,000 Pa

Consequently, the water pressure on the tank will be 50,000 pa. 

Calculate Water Pressure 

Let’s consider an example for the water pressure calculator by height:

Assume that the container is 800 m wide, and the water is 60 m deep at the container. 

Calculate the following:

(a) The average pressure on the container due to the water.

(b) The force exerted against the container and compare it with the weight of water in the container (when initially its weight was 1.96 × 1013 N


a. The average depth of the container is 30 m.

Applying the water pressure formula: P  =  hρg

30 * (103 kg/m3) * (9.81 m.s−2)


294 * 103Pa   =  294 kPa = 294 N/m2

So, the average pressure of the container is 294 kPa.

b. We know that the force exerted on the container by the water is the average pressure times the area of contact, which is given as:

                           F  =  PA

The area of the container is 800 * 60 = 48000 m2

Now, putting the value of P and A in the above equation, we get:

=  (2.94 x 105 N/m2) * (4.8 x 104 m2)   


F  =  1.4112  x  1010N     ……(a)

We see that although the value of the force in equation (a) seems large, however, it is small compared to the 1.96 × 1013 N weight of the water in the container - in fact, it is only 0.072 % of the weight.

How is the Comparison Done?

The calculated force = 1.4112  x  1010 N, and 

The previous weight  = 1.96 × 1013 N

For comparison,

(1.4112  x  1010  N) / (1.96 × 1013 N)  =  0.00072

So, the % will be 0.072%

Also, we see that the pressure is completely independent of the width and length of the container or a container, it only depends on its average depth. Hence the force depends only on the water’s average depth and the dimensions of the container, not on the horizontal extent of the container

PSI to Inches of Water Formula

The PSI stands for pound per square inch. 

So, 1 PSI   =   27.7076  inches of water.

So, the PSI to Inches of Water Formula says that to obtain an approximate result, we should multiply the pressure value by 27.708.

Example 1: Also, one inch of the water column equals the pressure of around 1/28 pound per square inch (psi). In other words, a 28-inches high column of water produces a 1 psi pressure.

Example 2: PSI to inches water formula:

Let’s suppose you divide 5 psi by 27.708, what value you will get, and state its unit.

On dividing 5 psi by 27.708, you get around 138.54 inches WC. Here inches WC stands for inches water column or simply WC. This unit is for the measurement of certain pressure differentials like small pressure differences across a pipeline or shaft or an orifice.

Example 3: Atmospheric pressure exerts a large force, i.e., equivalent to the weight of the atmosphere above your body - about 10 tons on the top of your body when you are lying on the beach sunbathing. Why do you face difficulty while trying to get up?

Reason: While lying on the beach, the atmospheric pressure exerts a large force on our body because all the weight of your body is pulled towards gravity, which is equal to the pressure.

Now, when you try to pull yourself up, you will have to go against gravity, which, in turn, means the pressure acting on your body because of which you face difficulty while getting up.


If the water is stored in a tank, the pressure at its bottom will be equal to the weight acting on a unit area of the surface where the tank is kept. 

           Expressing the above statement in an equation: 

           Pressure = weight/area, and 

           Weight = mass * acceleration due to gravity = mg. 

So, the equation of pressure becomes:

           P =  m * g/ area

A water pressure reading tells you exactly how forceful your water is in PSI.

This is all about water pressure and its different formulas. Check the representation of these formulas and consider following the solved examples to understand how to implement them.

FAQs on Water Pressure Formula

1. Can the effect of  Force change with the Area on Which it is Applied?

Significantly, yes.

A force can significantly have a different effect, depending on the area it is exerted. 

For instance, a force applied to an area of 1 mm2 acting on a jar has a pressure that is 100 times as great as the same force applied to an area of 1 cm2 of glass.

Another example:

If someone pokes you with a finger, you might get irritated, however, this force has a little lasting effect. In contrast, if you apply the same force to an area having the sharp end of a needle, this force will be enough to break your skin.

2. State the Unit of Pressure.

As per the international system of units, the SI unit of pressure is the pascal (Pa), which is equal to N/m2, or kg·m-1·s-2. The name for this unit was added in 1971. However, previously, the SI unit of pressure was newton per square meter.

Other units of pressure include pounds per square inch (psi) or lb/in2, and bar, which are also in common use. 

Besides this, the CGS unit of pressure is the barye (Ba), which is equal to 1 dyn·cm-2, or 0.1 Pa.

3. Does Water Tank Height Affect Water Pressure?

The height of the tank determines the amount of pressure that the supply of water has. Water pressure gets affected by gravitational pull (w = mg). Since water is much denser than air, so the water gets much affected even by small height differences. We can also conclude that the increase in height also increases the pressure in water. If you refer to the formula, you can determine that water pressure is directly proportional to the height of water.