Using a rainwater tank to collect water that you can then use for drinking can be a great way of being environmentally friendly. These tanks were traditionally used in the Outback due to the lack of water service to remote areas, but today, many homes make use of rainwater tanks as a way of saving money. However, it’s not quite as simple as buying a barrel and setting it up outside your home. Putting in a rainwater tank and using it to create safe water for your home use requires a little more than that.
Learn About Rainwater Requirements
Each local council in Australia may have their own requirements for installing a rainwater tank on your property. If you plan on connecting your tank to a washing machine or to a toilet, for example, you will need to make certain it contains a backflow prevention device. This device stops the water from flowing back into the city water supply. These devices have to be installed by a licensed plumber and must meet a number of different guidelines.
Your council may have additional regulations that must be adhered to before you can install and use a rainwater tank. Make certain you understand all of these requirements before you install a tank.
In most cases, you may not want to actually use your rainwater tank for drinking. The Australia Department of Health stresses that any rainwater tanks that are used to collect drinking water need to be well-maintained and cleaned regularly so that the water is as pure as possible. Filtering this water before drinking it is also recommended. Many people who use rainwater tanks in Brisbane use the water for showering, for washing clothes, and for filling their swimming pool while continuing to draw on water supplied by the city mains for drinking and cooking.
Keep Your Rainwater Tank Topped Up
Many people don’t realise that they need to make sure that their rainwater tank doesn’t completely empty. If it does, the cleanliness of the tank can be compromised and the water can become contaminated. To make sure this doesn’t occur, most tanks are connected to the water mains to top them up during dry periods.
First-Flush Rainwater Tanks
If your rainwater tank is a flush-first tank, it will have a device attached to it that actually sends any collected water back into the stormwater system first. When it returns to your system, it will pass through the filters in place by the stormwater system, reducing the amounts of sediment and contaminants that the water may have picked up.
Why Use Rainwater Tanks?
With all these different requirements and regulations that must be followed, is using a rainwater tank really worth it? Honestly, yes. Collecting and reusing rainwater for your toilets and washing can save you a good amount on your water bill by reducing your overall water consumption. You can also use it for watering your plants and your garden. It also helps to remove water from your roof and from collecting in your yard, which can help reduce the risk of costly flooding.