Water tanks

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Water Tanks

Connecting a water tank to the down spouts of your home's guttering system is one of the easiest ways to contribute to sustainable living.


Regulations as at May 2007

  • In Canberra in the ACT, new developments must include a water tank.
  • In Sydney and NSW, new building regulations call for a 40% reduction in mains water usage.
  • In Victoria, new homes will have to be 5-star standard, and must install either a solar HWS, or a water tank.

Rules and rebate schemes are different in each state.

Info on Victorian Rebate Scheme

With the current rebate schemes and cost of water the reasons for installing a water tank are not typically financial, for the cost of installing a 9000l tank, you could buy more than 5 million litres of water from Sydney Water.

Assessing your situation

So if it is not for financial reasons why are you installing a water tank?

Here are some reasons:

  • Do your part for water conservation
  • Be able to water your garden with some independence from water restrictions
  • Make rain water available for drinking in your home - see this info (PDF)
  • Use rainwater in the laundry and toilet

What size water tank should I choose?

Get the biggest tank you can fit in your garden. As a rule of thumb, about 25,000 litres (5,000 gallons) of storage is considered enough for a small family to be nearly self sufficient for normal domestic usage. The storage size will vary according to local rainfall. Dry areas would require more storage, wet areas less.

Types of Water Tanks

  • Cyclindrical tanks - either plastic or galvanised iron - are often the cheapest, but they require a lot of space
  • Rectangular and other narrow tanks - either plastic or galvanised iron - can fit under eaves and in narrow spaces next to fences. However, they are lower volume and more expensive.
  • Collapsible bladder systems can be installed under houses between existing stumps. However, these are the most expensive.

Other Considerations

  • If you use tank water for showering, be aware of the difficulties matching different water pressures. The mains pressure is often higher than what a pump can produce and the mains pressure can stop the tank water.
  • There are strict government regulations concerning the connection of mains water and tank water systems. The intention is to prevent tank water systems possibly contaminating the mains system. A licenced plumber must install this type of connection. These regulations don't apply if the systems are plumbed seperately.
  • The ability to fill tanks also depends on the roof catchment area you have. If the catchment area is too small you may never fill large tanks. This can be calculated from the average rainfall events for your location and the roof area.
  • In city areas use a green plumber. Many urban plumbers are not acquainted with installing and connecting rainwater tanks, systems and pumps.


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