Rainwater Tanks How They Work Sizes and Types Planning Installation Maintenance Plumbing Requirements Water Quality Issues Rebates Rainwater Tanks in Schools Rebate Program By storing rainwater run-off from your roof, rainwater tanks can provide a valuable water source for flushing toilets, in washing machines, watering gardens and washing cars.
Using rainwater appropriately (and in conjunction with water efficient devices like dual flush toilets, showerheads with at least a AAA-rating, taps, tap aerators, trigger nozzles and tap timers) can save you money on water bills and help the environment by:
conserving our valuable drinking water and reducing the demand on our water supply (conserving water also reduces the chemical and energy requirements for treating and transporting water to your home via the mains supply) reducing the amount of stormwater leaving your property by minimising flooding (using your rainwater for day-to-day purposes like toilet flushing helps create space in your tank for more water the next time it rains). While the NSW Department of Health doesn't advise using rainwater for drinking when there's an alternative mains water supply available, we could save millions of litres a year by using rainwater for toilets, in washing machines, and garden and outdoor use. For more information on rainwater tanks view our brochures Buying a rainwater tank and Installing a rainwater tank.
Getting the most out of your rainwater tank (as a cost and environment investment)There are key things to remember if you are using your tank for water conservation and stormwater management.
Tank capacity - the larger the tank, the more rainwater can be captured for use during dry periods. A minimum tank size of 5,000 litres is desirable. Water use - its best to use the water in the tank on a regular (daily) basis so there is always storage capacity available in the tank when it rains. By using the tank this way you will maximise the amount of water and money you save and reduce the amount of run-off from your roof to the stormwater system. Rainwater from your tank is fine for use with garden irrigation systems. However, if you plan to connect your rainwater tank to an irrigation system, you should ensure that you have a filter on your tank. Algae or debris can sometimes be present in rainwater tanks, and a filter will stop blockages occurring in your irrigation sprays.
Connecting your tank to your toilet cistern or your washing machine is a good way to maximise the use of your captured rainwater because unlike garden watering, you will even be using your tank water when it is raining. To supply these appliances from your tank you will need to maintain a minimum operating water level in the tank when there is insufficient rainfall. This will require a "top-up" connection from the Sydney Water supply (just like a toilet cistern) and therefore some plumbing alterations to your home. You will need to consult Sydney Water about this.
If you want to contact Sydney Water regarding any plumbing alterations, our Plumbing Policy, Standards and Regulation area can provide advice.
Rebates Sydney Water has a Rainwater Tank Rebate Program offering customers up to $650 to install a rainwater tank. A special Rainwater Tanks in Schools Rebate Program is also available for schools. Find out the details of Sydney Water's rebate program for rainwater tanks and how you can qualify