Advice and Issues for Rainwater Tanks

If you are considering installing a rainwater tank, please contact your local council in the first instance. You may find the below information and advice useful.

You may need to lodge a Development Application and you may need to have your rainwater tank inspected by Department of Fair Trading. Click here for more information.

Advice for rainwater collection

  • If your tank is going to be large, consult a builder or engineer, as it may require structural support.
  • Have the tank installed by a plumber or the tank manufacturer. This will ensure the system operates efficiently, and is easy to maintain.
  • Lead-based paint and flashing, or tar-based coatings found on some roofs affect water quality. Make sure your roof material is non-toxic.
  • A U-shaped gutter traps leaves and twigs. If possible, choose water friendly gutters, or cover existing gutters in mesh.
  • Try to make all pipes 'dry'. This means having a continuous downward path so water can't accumulate between flushes.
  • Have all openings covered by a mosquito-proof mesh.
  • Install a first flush diverter on the downpipe. This is especially important in areas of high pesticide use or atmospheric pollution.
  • A sump box between the downpipe and the tank can slow the water flow down, separating out any sediment not previously diverted.
  • Make sure the tank overflow outlet is connected back into the stormwater pipe or infiltration trench.
  • Clean the inside of the tank every few years, as sediment will accumulate.
  • You may need to install a pump to provide adequate water pressure for some appliances. Choose the pump that best suits the end user to reduce energy consumption (ie. Toilets or irrigation)
    Consider appliances that can operate at less than mains pressure.

Issues associated with rainwater use

There are some important factors that can affect the quality of rainwater stored in tanks. These include:

  • Contamination from pollutants found in roof and pipe materials.
  • Contamination from bird droppings, local pollution, and organic material collected on the roof.
  • Breeding of mosquitos in the water supply.

The quality of water you need to maintain will depend on its use. However, water from rooftops that contain harmful chemicals should not be used for any purpose. Drinking water must meet the standards set by health authorities.

These quality issues can be overcome through the use of approved products and techniques. Tanks and other equipment must meet the required standards, and state health authorities will approve the most reputable manufacturers and installers.