Select the best water tank for your installation

An excellent article written in the South African context; choose the best water tank for the situation. In our case, we recommend JoJo Tanks products; there should be a JoJo tank for just about any application and situation.

jojo water tenks

Rainwater tanks can be one of the most expensive components of a rain harvesting system, but it is probably the most important aspect of a successful installation.

It is very important that all the rainwater is diverted to a central storage tank. Having many small water tanks all over the premises defeats the objective of using rainwater effectively from a central point.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a rain water storage tank:

Above or below ground water tanks

  • Making this decision is more than just about aesthetics, it is also about costs, lifespan and water quality
  • Above ground rainwater storage tanks are 3-5 times cheaper than underground rainwater tanks. It is easier and safer to install.  For underground water tank installations you need to have an understanding of the subsoil conditions and water table as this  might limit the depth of installation.
  • Underground tanks store rainwater better because it is cooler and darker underground with less temperature fluctuations, resulting in improved water quality.
  • Above ground water tanks are exposed to the elements resulting in a shorter lifespan than below ground tanks.

Water tank material

The water tank material must be solid to prevent any ingress of light into the tank. Ingress of light will allow algae to grow inside the tank

Polyethylene water tanks

  • Polyethylene (plastic) tanks are the most common and affordable tanks available in many sizes and colours. You also get reinforced polyethelene tanks tanks that can be installed underground. Polyethelene tanks don’t leak easily and they require little maintenance.  The disadvantage of above ground polyethylene tanks is that the material is UV degradable and after extended periods of exposure to the sun, the tank will need replacement. It can be overcome by covering the tanks or painting them. If you are going to use the tank for drinking water make sure it is made of food grade plastic. Higher quality poly water tanks have built-in UV protection.

Fibreglass water tanks

  • They are not freely available in South Africa and are more expensive than plastic tanks. The installation platform construction is critical as a fibreglass tank cannot tolerate any soil movement.

Galvanised steel water tanks

  • Steel water tanks are commercially available but must be constructed above ground, on site. As a result they can be manufactured to store more rainwater than the biggest plastic tanks on the market. Generally they have low flat profiles. The disadvantage is that these water tanks are prone to corrosion. If they are being used for potable water the tank must be lined with a membrane.

Concrete water tanks

  • Concrete tanks can be installed above or below ground. They are the most expensive tanks but they are durable, immovable and probably provide the best storage conditions for rainwater.
  • Concrete neutralises the slight acidity that you find in rainwater and thus improves water quality while it is in storage.
  • The disadvantage is that concrete is prone to cracking and leaking. Soil considerations and preparation for installation is more important to prevent cracking. For this you need the advice of a civil and geotechnical engineer.
  • After installation the concrete must be waterproofed to ensure it does not leak. There is no bigger frustration than a leaking underground water tank!
  • Pre-manufactured concrete tanks are also available on the market. They are modular and can be installed underground in connected modules to give the required water volume. The benefits of these tanks are that they can be installed very quickly and if time in your project is of essence, these water tanks can be considered.


  • Rainwater tanks are generally gravity fed with the rainwater from the collection surface, thus they must be located below the harvesting surface area.  If however this is not possible a small intermediate storage tank with a pump can be used to collect the water and then pump it at high volume to the rainwater storage tanks.
  • Minimise exposure of above ground tanks to direct sunlight by covering them or installing them under a roof or trees. It prevents excessive water temperature fluctuations and extends the life of the water tank.

Rainwater supply pipes from harvesting surface 

  • For below ground pipes ensure effective installation and protection against heavy vehicles.
  •  Above ground pipes must be well supported. When filled with water they will buckle and break if not supported.
  • Make sure all the plastic pipes used have UV protection. It is also a good idea to paint them to protect them from UV degradation.

Overflow pipe installation

If designed correctly rainwater tanks will overflow 2-3 times per year. Ensure that the overflow is connected to a storm water drain or soak pit. An uncontrolled overflow will undermine the water tank foundations and structure which will ultimately damage your rainwater tank.

Pump location

It is recommended that you install a  pump with a rainwater tank installation

Using gravity to supply water from a tank is not always feasible. Example – If the tank is situated 2m above where the water is require and the tank is filled with 2 m of water, the discharge pressure is only 40KPa. Normal household water pressure ranges between 250KPa and 400KPa. It can thus be a very slow process to drain  the water from the water tank if you just have a tap connected to it. In other cases, the water tank may be placed on a tank stand.


JoJo storage tanks possess most of the qualities required for a top-rated water tank, developed in South Africa for South African conditions. JoJo tanks are UV-protected and have an inner black membrane which inhibits algae growth and ensures the stored water tastes good. Click on the links below for more information about the various JoJo Tanks water tanks, chemical tanks, silo tanks, septic tanks, tank stands and more.

JoJo Tanks South Africa offer a wide range of products such as plastic water tanks and chemical tanks to suit every household, business or agricultural need, including silo tanks and silo tank stands as well as other high quality JoJo Tanks products.  See JoJo Tanks’ VERTICAL TANKS, HORIZONTAL TANKS (transporter tanks), STEEL TANK STANDS and OTHER JOJO PRODUCTS and see JoJo Tanks’ NEW 6000 LITRE UNDERGROUND TANKSAlso see our FAQ and WATER TANK PRICES.

JoJo’s superior polyethylene plastic water tanks and steel water tank stands make JoJo Tanks the leaders in plastic water tank technology and the quality, affordability and 8-year guarantee on these water tanks make JoJo products one of the best choices in South Africa.  *All JoJo Tanks polyethylene tanks and products now carry a 8 year warranty (on tanks purchased on or after 1 July 2013)*  JoJo’s water tanks and chemical tanks come standard with a number of features that are often lacking on cheaper/inferior plastic tanks made by other companies in South Africa.

We are authorised JoJo Tanks dealers in South Africa and dispatch orders directly from JoJo Tank depots to save on transport costs. Full range of JoJo Tanks products and JoJo water tanks for sale.  CONTACT US for a quote on the right JoJo water tank or other JoJo product for you.  Special discounts are available on multiple orders of chemical tanks and water tanks and to our commercial and government customers. We can usually delivery tanks and tank stands free of charge to business/commercial addresses in South Africa.


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