What Is A Water Storage Tank And How Does It Work? - Water Supply Tanks

What Is A Water Storage Tank And How Does It Work?

A water storage tank is a large container used to hold water for both long-term and short-term use. Water can be stored for drinking, irrigation, hygiene, cooking, or regular household and commercial uses. 

What is a water storage tank?

A water storage tank collects water and stores it for later use and easy access. They can be made of various materials such as plastic, steel, concrete or fiberglass and can vary in sizes from small residential water tanks to large industrial tanks. 

Water storage tanks are commonly used to store rainwater for household or agricultural use, as a backup water supply in areas where water is scarce, or as a storage solution in case of emergencies.


Two 160 gallon water tanks used by The Provident Prepper

How does a water storage tank work?

Water is pumped or collected into a water storage tank and then stored inside the tank until a demand for water is needed. Water can be added to the water tank from different water sources such as:

  • A lake, river, or reservoir
  • Well
  • Municipal water
  • Rain Water

If you are adding water to your water tank that is not treated, make sure you treat that water before using it by using one of the following methods:

  • Water Filtration
  • Boiling
  • Chlorination
  • Disinfecting Tablets
  • UV Light
  • Reverse Osmosis

Make sure when filling up your tank you be sure to watch how full it gets so it does not overflow in order to prevent a flood or cause damage.


Most water tanks come with a spigot or bulkhead where the water can be accessed and used for a variety of purposes such as:

  • Drinking
  • Washing
  • Cooking
  • Irrigation
  • Household Use
  • Commercial Use

Be sure to rotate your water every 6-12 months to ensure there is no bacteria growth unless you use a product like ResQ H2O Biofilm Defender which allows you to store your water for up to 5 years before needing to rotate it because it prevents the growth of bacteria in the water.

ResQ H2O Biofilm Defender Water Storage Treatment

Once a tank is empty or has reached a point where you should rotate the water make sure to clean it before refilling it. The easiest cleaning method is to use a little bleach and wash it around the tank and rinse the tank out thoroughly before refilling.


It is important to regularly check the water level in the tank and to ensure that the tank is properly maintained to prevent any damage or contamination. 



What are water storage tanks used for?

Water storage tanks are primarily utilized for storing significant amounts of water for long-term supply and use. The primary use of water tanks is typically to store clean drinking water for household and/or commercial use. People tend to store drinking water for:

  • Emergencies such as:
    • Natural Disasters like Hurricanes, Earthquakes, tornadoes or wildfires
    • Power Outages (Ice Storms in Texas)
    • Water Contamination (Flint, Michigan)
  • Food Storage
  • Gardening, irrigation, crop production
  • Livestock and Pets
  • Fire Suppression


 Water tanks are typical used in:

  • Cabins, Homesteads or Off-Grid living
  • Areas with no access to reliable drinking water
  • Areas where the existing water supply has been depleted
  • Areas that are prone to fires or flooding
  • Residential homes or apartments
  • Emergency Preparedness Plans
  • Food Storage


160 Gallon Water Tanks in a garage


Types of Water Storage Tanks

There are various types of water storage tanks available which suit diverse kinds of needs and requirements. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the features they come with. 

  • Reverse Osmosis Water Tanks: Filter Water Slowly
  • Well Pressure Water Tank: Generates water pressure for your home
  • Steel Water Tanks: Designed for both indoor and outdoor commercial use
  • Fiberglass & Concrete Water Tanks: Great option if you want a sturdier construction
  • Plastic Water Tanks: Store Clean Drinking Water for Emergencies

Plastic water storage tanks are found to be the most common and cost effective tank which is usually used outside and indoors. They are made up of food-grade polyethylene plastics with UV resistant polymers to help prevent the growth of bacteria when placed in direct sunlight. 

Metal Water Storage Tank Outside Next To A Cabin

In addition to the above-mentioned types, there are also underground tanks which are designed to be buried in the ground and are usually made of plastic, fiberglass or concrete. These tanks are great for storing large amounts of water and are often used in agricultural and industrial settings.


Lifespan of a Water Storage Tank

The longevity of a water storage tank depends on various factors such as the materials used to build, the environment of the tank's location, and the regular maintenance practices associated with it. 


Each type of tank can last a different amount of time:

  • Plastic Water Tanks can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years 
  • Steel Water Tank will last from 20 to 30 years 
  • Fiberglass Tanks will last from 30 to 40 years
  • Concrete Water Tanks could last as long as 60 years


It is important to note that the lifespan of a water storage tank can be significantly extended with proper maintenance. Regularly checking for signs of corrosion, leaks, and other damage can help to ensure that the tank is in good condition and can last for many years. Storing your water tanks in a cool dark place also helps with the longevity of your tank. 


Plastic water tanks are manufactured with a UV resistant polymer to help prevent the growth of bacteria when placed in direct sunlight. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the tank is properly installed to limit any potential issues.


Finding the Right Water Storage Tank for Your Needs

In order to choose the right size water storage container for your needs, it is important to consider factors like:

  • Available space
  • How many people are you storing water for?
  • How many days of water do you want to store?


You should also consider convenience when choosing a particular tank. Plastic tanks are generally easier to install, with low maintenance and cost, however they must first be certified as food-grade before they can be used to store potable drinking water. 


Stainless steel tanks are more durable but cost more than plastic tanks. 


Fiberglass-reinforced plastic tanks are recommended for potable water storage as they are stronger than traditional plastic tanks.


 When deciding on the suitable size of tank, it should always be based on your usage requirements.


It is also important to consider the environment when selecting a water storage tank. For example, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you may want to consider a tank that is insulated to prevent freezing or overheating. Additionally, if you live in an area with high levels of humidity, you may want to consider a tank with a corrosion-resistant coating to prevent rusting. Finally, if you are looking for a tank that is great in any climate, you may want to consider a tank made of food-grade polyethylene plastics.


To determine how much water you should be storing check out our water storage calculator.

Different Sized Water Tanks By WaterSupplyTanks

Best Water Storage Tanks Options

Water tanks come in all shapes and sizes and are used for a variety of purposes.

Some of the best size water storage tanks for apartments homes, cabins or homesteads are:


Small Tanks

Medium Tanks

Large Tanks


Looking to buy a water storage tank? Water Supply Tanks can help! All of our water tanks are designed and manufactured right here in the United States. We take pride in manufacturing all of our products here in Logan, Utah! All of our products ship directly from our Utah-based warehouse right to your door, no extra steps needed just buy your tank, follow the checkout process, and we will ship it right to you!

1 comment

Sam Andrews
Sam Andrews

Oh, my! I was dumbfounded when you revealed that fiberglass water tanks could last up to four decades! That’s it, I must tell my uncle about this before he makes some deal with a supplier. He plans to create an additional water reserve for his house this summer. https://www.pipelongview.com/

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