Rainwater tanks have many advantages – no matter where you live. In many parts of rural and regional Australia and in some urban fringe areas without a reticulated water supply, rainwater tanks are essential to collect water for household use. However, even in urban areas where a reticulated service is available, rainwater tanks can help conserve valuable drinking water and reduce runoff.
Rainwater tanks reduce the physical impact of stormwater on drainage infrastructure, roads, urban streams and beaches and mitigate flooding. They also contribute to reducing contaminants in our waterways.
Retention of rainwater allows for its reuse for outdoor use such as gardening and washing cars. When integrated with household plumbing and by using a pump, a rainwater tank can also supply water for other uses.
While it is recognised that some consumers may also wish to use rainwater for all domestic purposes, including drinking, cooking, bathing and in hot water systems, in large urban areas access to a reticulated potable water supply remains the most reliable source of drinking water for the community.
NSW Health recommends the use of rainwater tanks for non-drinking uses, such as garden watering, and car washing. The use of rainwater tanks for drinking purposes is not recommended where a reticulated potable water supply is available.
- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing: Guidance on use of rainwater tanks
- Rainwater Tanks Where a Public Water Supply is Available – Use of – NSW Department of Health
The collection of rainwater conserves the potable water supply and helps to reduce stormwater.
Reusing rainwater conserves drinking water and cuts costs for households, and commercial users, while reducing demand for potable water. This is important because it reduces the need to build new dams.
No, but all plumbing and drainage work must comply with the NSW Code of Practice for Plumbers and Drainage. A number of plumbing devices need to be used to ensure supply and to integrate tanks with existing plumbing, while other technical means can improve the quality of rainwater stored in tanks.