Water is an essential resource for every living being on Earth. As populations grow and climates change, the need for efficient water storage solutions becomes increasingly critical. Storage tanks for water, commonly referred to as water tanks, play a vital role in ensuring a reliable supply of this precious resource. This guide will delve into the various aspects of water storage tanks, including their types, materials, installation, and maintenance.

Types of Water Storage Tanks

Above-Ground Water Tanks

Above-ground water tanks are the most common type of storage tanks. They are typically made from materials such as polyethylene, steel, or fiberglass and are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. These tanks are easy to install, maintain, and relocate, making them a popular choice for residential, agricultural, and commercial applications.


  • Ease of Installation: Requires minimal groundwork and can be set up quickly.
  • Cost-Effective: Generally cheaper than below-ground tanks due to less labor and excavation costs.
  • Portability: Can be moved if needed.


  • Exposure to Elements: Susceptible to temperature changes and UV radiation, which can degrade the tank material over time.
  • Space Consumption: Requires considerable space, which might not be suitable for smaller properties.

Storage tanks Stainless tanks and pipeline for liquid chemical industrial on sky background storage tanks for water stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Below-Ground Water Tanks

Below-ground water tanks, also known as underground water tanks, are installed beneath the surface. These tanks are typically made from concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. They are ideal for properties with limited space or where aesthetics are a concern.


  • Space-Saving: Does not take up valuable surface space.
  • Protection from Elements: Less affected by temperature fluctuations and UV radiation.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: Hidden from view, maintaining the visual appeal of the property.


  • Higher Installation Costs: Requires excavation, which increases labor and material costs.
  • Maintenance Challenges: More difficult to access for cleaning and repairs.

Rainwater Harvesting Tanks

Rainwater harvesting tanks are designed specifically to collect and store rainwater. These tanks can be installed above or below ground and are an excellent way to conserve water and reduce utility bills.


  • Environmental Benefits: Reduces reliance on municipal water supply and promotes sustainable water usage.
  • Cost Savings: Lowers water bills and reduces stormwater runoff.
  • Independence: Provides an alternative water source during droughts or water restrictions.


  • Initial Setup Cost: Installation can be expensive, especially for larger systems.
  • Maintenance: Requires regular cleaning and inspection to prevent contamination.

white tanks in tank farm with iron staircase

Materials Used in Water Tanks

Polyethylene Tanks

Polyethylene, or plastic, tanks are a popular choice due to their affordability, durability, and lightweight nature. These tanks are resistant to corrosion and can withstand a wide range of temperatures.


  • Cost-Effective: Generally cheaper than other materials.
  • Durability: Resistant to rust and corrosion.
  • Ease of Installation: Lightweight and easy to transport and install.


  • UV Degradation: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can degrade the material over time.
  • Limited Lifespan: Typically have a shorter lifespan compared to steel or concrete tanks.

Steel Tanks

Steel tanks are known for their strength and durability. They are available in galvanized or stainless steel options and can be used for both above-ground and below-ground applications.


  • Strength: Highly durable and can withstand harsh environmental conditions.
  • Longevity: Longer lifespan compared to plastic tanks.
  • Versatility: Suitable for a wide range of applications, including industrial use.


  • Corrosion: Can be susceptible to rust if not properly maintained.
  • Weight: Heavier and more difficult to install compared to plastic tanks.

Fiberglass Tanks

Fiberglass tanks are a durable and lightweight option for water storage. They are resistant to corrosion and can be used for both above-ground and below-ground installations.


  • Corrosion Resistance: Does not rust or degrade over time.
  • Lightweight: Easier to handle and install compared to steel tanks.
  • Customizable: Can be manufactured to specific sizes and shapes.


  • Cost: Generally more expensive than polyethylene tanks.
  • Fragility: Can be prone to cracking if subjected to severe impact.

Installation of Water Storage Tanks

Site Selection

Choosing the right location for your water tank is crucial. Consider factors such as proximity to the water source, ground stability, and accessibility for maintenance. For above-ground tanks, ensure the ground is level and free from sharp objects that could damage the tank. For below-ground tanks, avoid areas prone to flooding or high water tables.

Permits and Regulations

Before installing a water storage tank, check with local authorities for any permits or regulations that need to be followed. This can include zoning laws, building codes, and environmental regulations.

Foundation Preparation

For above-ground tanks, a concrete slab or compacted sand base is recommended to provide a stable foundation. Below-ground tanks require excavation, and the base should be lined with sand or gravel to prevent damage from sharp rocks.

Installation Process

  • Above-Ground Tanks: Place the tank on the prepared foundation, ensuring it is level. Connect the inlet and outlet pipes, and install any necessary fittings and accessories.
  • Below-Ground Tanks: Lower the tank into the excavated hole, ensuring it is level and stable. Backfill around the tank with sand or gravel, and connect the inlet and outlet pipes.

Tanks for fish oil

Maintenance of Water Storage Tanks

Regular Inspections

Conduct regular inspections of your water tank to check for signs of damage, leaks, or contamination. Look for cracks, rust, or UV degradation, and address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.


Periodically clean your portable water tanks to remove sediment, algae, and other contaminants. This can be done by draining the tank and scrubbing the interior with a brush and a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly and allow the tank to dry before refilling.

Preventative Measures

  • Install Filters: Use filters on the inlet pipes to prevent debris and contaminants from entering the tank.
  • Use a Cover: Ensure your tank is properly covered to prevent debris and pests from getting inside.
  • Monitor Water Quality: Regularly test the water quality to ensure it is safe for use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do water storage tanks last?

The lifespan of a water storage tank depends on the material and maintenance. Polyethylene tanks typically last 10-15 years, steel tanks can last 20-30 years, and fiberglass tanks can last 25-40 years with proper care.

Can water storage tanks be used for drinking water?

Yes, water storage tanks can be used for drinking water if they are made from food-grade materials and properly maintained to prevent contamination.

What size water storage tank do I need?

The size of the tank depends on your water usage needs and available space. For residential use, a 1,000-2,000-gallon tank is usually sufficient. Larger tanks may be needed for agricultural or industrial applications.

How often should I clean my water storage tank?

It is recommended to clean your water storage tank at least once a year, or more frequently if you notice any signs of contamination or sediment buildup.

Are there any environmental benefits to using water storage tanks?

Yes, using water storage tanks, especially for rainwater harvesting, can reduce your reliance on municipal water supply, lower water bills, and promote sustainable water usage.


Storage tanks for water are an essential component of efficient water management. Whether for residential, agricultural, or industrial use, selecting the right type, material, and size of water tank is crucial for ensuring a reliable and safe water supply. By understanding the different options available and following proper installation and maintenance practices, you can maximize the lifespan and performance of your water storage tank.