Rainwater Tanks as Decentralised Water Storage in Australia

May 20, 2011

Rainwater tanks the perfect solution for decentralised rainwater storage in built up environments. Rainwater has always been captured and stored most commonly in dams for urban environments - and rainwater tanks provide homeowners with the ability to have their own "dams" at home.

For Australians living in rural locations, rainwater tanks are the only means of collecting and storing fresh water. This also used to be the case in Australian cities until many homeowners were forced to remove rainwater tanks from their backyards when mains water supply was first connected. In fact, until relatively recently, it was illegal to have a rainwater tank at home.

rain puddle

More recently, due to climate change, droughts and changing rainfall patterns, dam levels have been less reliable. Many cities in Australia have experienced recent water shortages and have had to implement water restrictions at some point. As a consequence, local and state governments now encourage new and existing homeowners to install rainwater tanks to harvest the rainwater from their roofs.

Rainwater Tanks: Regulatory Requirements

In some states new home builders or those commencing home alterations have to install a rainwater tank to meet water saving targets established by the regulatory authorities. For those not building or renovating, there are some cash rebate incentives that are paid based on rainwater tank storage capacity and in some cases, the reticulation of tank water back into the home.

Independent research has shown that rainwater tanks are a more viable economic proposition than desalination. The future of Australian water supplies in urban locations will most certainly include rainwater tanks as the major form of decentralised rainwater storage.

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