The installation of tanks to houses connected to mains water was once not allowed under government regulations.
This is no longer the case, with governments at all levels encouraging, and in some cases regulating, the installation of rain water tanks. This change has come about due to the drought, the recognition that there are large volumes of water lost to the storm water system, the availability of relative inexpensive and easy to install household tanks and the inclusion of mosquito screens to ensure tanks are clean and healthy.
The decision to install a rain water tank is generally determined by the benefits of having your own tank. The main reason tanks are installed is that you own the water, and can therefore use it how and when you want. Tanks provide a clean source of water that is not reliant on the mains thereby reducing your costs. In addition, tanks have a positive effect on the local environment by reducing storm water runoff.
There are four simple steps in working out if you need a water tank and deciding what you need.
- What do you want to use the water for?
When a water tank is installed it can be used for a range of things, including watering the garden, connecting to toilets and laundry, washing the car and washing down the house and paths. When droughts occur it is these types of uses that are restricted (and in some cases banned). Your tank water may be the only source of water for these purposes.
- Where can I use my water?
Rain water harvested from the roof in urban areas can be used on the garden, which typically accounts for 25-30% of household water usage. There are other possible savings - if connected to a toilet it can save up to 12 litres per flush and to the laundry, up to 150 litres per washing load. Your rain water can also be used to wash the car and paths around the house. In urban areas it is not recommended to use rain water for drinking as it may contain contaminants from the roof. In country areas this is not such an issue but you may want to filter the water for drinking.
- How much water do you want and what type of tank best suits my house?
The amount of water you will need will determine the size of tank and how much of your roof area you may want to use to collect rainwater. This can be easily done by going to the Bushmans Tank calculator, working through the uses of your water, and then looking at the catchment area of your roof and the annual rainfall of your area.
The type of tank you choose will depend on the amount of water to be stored and the area available for installing the tank. If there are space restrictions, often a slimline tank may be suitable as they take up less room, fitting into narrow areas between the house and fence. If there is more space available, then a round tank may be a better solution, as they can be larger and are more cost effective to install.
- What other things do I need to consider before installing my rain water tank?
Do I need council approval, is a plumber required to install the tank, how will I connect the guttering to the tank, are leaf guards and first flush diverters needed, where does the overflow go, is a pump needed and how will I maintain the new tank?
The best way to find out what you need to do about installing a tank is to consider the points outlined in the article, and then talk to Bushmans Tanks, who will take you through a step-by-step process to ensure the tank and pump you select best meets your needs.