This device is about five feet tall. It is located in a ground-floor alcove in the exterior of a commercial building on a public street in Santa Monica, California.
Each of the chained manual valve handles seems to also be attached to some sort of electric switch. (The junction box for the cables is visible on the wall behind the pipes in the upper-right quadrant of the picture.)
The small black attachment in the lower left quadrant is a water flow or volume meter.
Our best guess is that it has something to do with fire suppression. But what?
Why is it located on the outside of the building? What are the valve handles for? Presumably the chains are to prevent tampering by passersby, but why are the handles there at all, if the apparatus is outside the building? Who is expected to use them?
What are the two seemingly disconnected pipes at the bottom for? Some sort of drainage? The two bottom pipes seem to be linked by some sort of feedback apparatus; is this right? What is it for?
The more details in your answer, the better. I am totally mystified.