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QLD Government Rainwater Tank Strategy

Media Release by The Water Tank Group 26 July 2012

Rainwater Tank Facts

Since rainwater tanks were included in new homes in Queensland it is estimated that every year over 21 billion litres of water will be stored and used. This means 21 billion litres less of water to be supplied from expensive infrastructure and 21 billion litres less water to be dealt with in our stormwater systems. By 2056, data from the Queen QWC estimates that South East Queensland will need an additional 927,400 homes. By adopting rainwater tanks for use across all new homes for an extended purpose we can ultimately reduce water use by 137 billion litres annually.

Making Water Tank Requirements Stronger Could Save Queensland Families Thousands and the State Billions

Queensland’s rainwater tank industry has welcomed a review of Queensland’s laws mandating rainwater tanks on new buildings and has called on the government to make it even stronger by extending the use of rainwater tanks to include hot water systems.

Waterplex Steel Modular Slimline Water Tanks under pool

The review has the potential to save Queensland $16.4 billion in operating, renewal and augmentation costs for water and stormwater infrastructure throughout South East Queensland by 2056 according to research commissioned by The Water Tank Group and Rainwater Harvesting Association of Australia (RHAA).

Industry advisor Dr Peter Coombes analysed the costs and benefits of rainwater tanks in Queensland. The research shows residential water use in South East Queensland can be reduced by 137 GL to 2056 which will increase the resilience and security of the state’s water supplies.

Leisa Donlan, Chief Executive Officer of the Water Tank Group hopes that the review extends to considering the adoption of rainwater tanks for a wide number of uses including hot water systems. Ms Donlan said “this review is an opportunity to take advantage of the huge savings possible by using rainwater in tanks for household hot water systems for both existing and new homes.”

The use of rainwater tanks will reduce the cost of living by $13,770 per household for Queensland families.

Adding the use of rainwater for domestic hot water systems will increase water savings to 137 GL and economic savings to $16.4 Billion by 2056.

Reduced Cost of Living

Rainwater Harvesting Association of Australia (RHAA) Queensland Representative, Jackie Hammond, said just one example of the savings that can be achieved is the Callaghan family of Redland Bay who have connected their rainwater tank to their washing machine and saved $100 on their water bill in the first quarter.

Callaghan Family Water Bill demonstrating saving achieved by installing a rainwater tank

Rainwater Tank Savings Review

Detailed site monitoring of residential homes with rainwater tanks throughout South East Queensland by Dr Peter Coombes over the last three years revealed water savings of 90,000 litres per home each year. This translates into annual household cost savings of over $167.

Helping Finance Queensland’s Future

“With the state of Queensland facing significant financial challenges, the infrastructure and stormwater cost savings achieved by installing rainwater tanks can’t be ignored,” Miss Hammond said.

"The adoption of rainwater tanks in all new buildings has the potential to save Queensland Billions in future infrastructure expenses.”

The Water Tank Group and RHAA commissioned Dr Peter Coombes to conduct an analysis the costs and benefits of rainwater tanks in Queensland. Dr Coombes has also completed long term monitoring of the performance of households with rainwater tanks throughout South East Queensland. A report on the findings will be available during August.

Results of the long term monitoring program have revealed that households with rainwater tanks to supply indoor uses have reduced household water use by an average of 90,000 Litres/annum – this exceeds the requirements of the current Queensland Development Code (MP2).

It was also found the existing houses with rainwater tanks reduced water use throughout SEQ by 21.2 GL and reduced the costs to the State of Queensland for water and stormwater infrastructure by $1.4 Billion.

Continuing with the current Queensland Development Code for rainwater tanks is expected to reduce water use by 107 GL and reduce infrastructure costs by $7.75 Billion to 2056. This would be a saving of $6,508 per household.

“The use of rainwater tanks reduces costs to the Queensland State Government whilst reducing the costs to provide and operate housing,” said Dr Coombes.

“Queensland’s large water assets including the desalination plant, remain an expensive white elephant while rainwater tanks have become a valuable and integral part of the water resources of the state. With the recent announcement that Australia’s East coast should expect another El Nino in 2013 and increasing population in the South East corner, it may not be too long before water tanks again help save our major cities from running out of water. By strengthening these regulations the Newman government can help save Queensland Billions and reduce the cost of living for Queensland families.”

26 July, 2012

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