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Harvest and Use Your Rainwater

Install a rainwater tank to collect and store the rain hitting your roof and use it to water your garden, wash your clothes or fill your toilet.

By capturing and using the rain that falls on our houses - water that currently flows into the stormwater drain - we are taking another step in increasing our water efficiency, and conserving this precious resource. Have a plumber redirect your down pipes into a tank for storage and install pumps and pipes to service some of your household water needs. By these simple actions, most Australian households would save at least 45,000 litres and hundreds of dollars per year.

How to do it now

Scope out the benefit of installing a rainwater harvesting system in your home, explore government rebates and think medium to long term.

Understand the rainfall capturing capacity of your roof - By using the monthly rainfall averages for your area and the surface area of your roof, you can calculate the average amount of water you are likely to collect into your water tank each month. The following formulae calculates the annual capture potential of your roof:

Potential estimated average annual capture amount (KL) = roof area (in square metres) x average annual rainfall (in Millimeters)/1000

For example, a roof area of 250 m² in an area that receives annual rainfall of 600mm will be able to capture 150,000 litres p.a. Assuming the rainfall is spread evenly over the year, ie. 12,500 litres per month, and regular use of this water in toilets and garden watering, a 25,000 litre capacity tank may be sufficient to maximise water capture. However, if the rainfall pattern over the year was more skewed to certain months (ie winter) then the tank size would need to increase to store more water for the dryer periods.

Annual, monthly and seasonal rainfall averages for most parts of Australia are available on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

An understanding of your monthly average rainfall capture will enable you to identify what size tank will maximise your rainwater capture and reuse.

Get some advice and a quote - Download the Ryde Water Tank Installation Kit(PDF, 296KB) - these easy to read kits explain the rebates that apply to each product and provides guidance that will assist the Ryde community members in navigating their way through the complicated approval, installation and rebate recovery processes. In addition, a list of preferred suppliers and installers that local residents may wish to approach for a quote is provided (below). These companies were short listed from many proposals and were considered by Council at the date of assessment as having the most preferred credentials to ensure value for money.

However, please note that the Council will not be involved in any direct or indirect negotiations between the supplier/installer and resident. Residents can still approach any suppliers/installer of their choice.

Preferred Suppliers & Installers - Rainwater Tanks:

Explore government incentives and programs - As we are living through drought years and Australia is water poor, most state governments have rebates to help fund rainwater tank installation. In addition, some states have further incentives and programs to encourage households to install water collection and saving equipment.

  • Local Government Rebates - Smart Watermark - this site lists the State and/or local government rebate programs available, for the installation of certain water saving fixtures and water tanks, in your area.

Calculate the cost, benefit and return on investment - By measuring the water bill savings, rebates, and increased home value against the cost to purchase and install a rainwater harvesting system you can calculate the financial value of this investment.

For example, installing a 5,000 litre tank connected to the toilet and garden may cost $10,000 with a $1000 rebate and reduce your water bill by $500 per annum. In addition, a recent study by Energy Partners in Canberra found that a one-star improvement in a home's energy rating coincides with an average increase in advertised sale of price of around $15,000. Hence, the above investment will add at least $10,000 of value to your house should you sell. This equates to a 5.5% annual return plus your investment back.

Why this action is important

Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way - we need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this "lifeblood". The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the drought and famine that can soon follow.

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Disclaimer: We and our content providers ('we') have tried to make the information on this website as accurate as possible, but it is provided 'as is' and we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. You should verify critical information with the relevant authorities.

Last updated on 21 April 2017