A computer method based on the classical shell and plate theories is presented for the elastic analysis of cylindrical water tanks subjected to axisymmetrical loading and post-tensioning loads. A spherical dome or circular plate roof, cylindrical container, top and bottom ring beams together with a circular plate foundation are considered as possible components of a water tank in the flexibility formulation. Classical shell, plate, and ring beam theories are used to obtain flexibility coefficients. A computer program has been developed based on this formulation and successfully used in the design of post-tensioned concrete water tanks with diameters of 80 m built in Saudi Arabia. (C) 2002 Civil-Comp Ltd. and Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.