There aren’t many consolations to a rainy day– cosy couch time, soothing sounds of drops on the roof, and perhaps a rainbow or a puddle-splash afterwards. But you can add another by building a water tank to capture a bit of that downpour: it’ll diminish your environmental footprint by lowering your demand on mains water and the amount of stormwater runoff into rivers and oceans, and can also reduce your water bill in the longer term.
Rainwater tanks are no longer just huge, round and unsightly; they are available in all shapes and sizes that can make efficient use of minimal or tricky urban spaces.
Water for outdoor or indoor use?
Easily the most important issue to consider before you buy and install a water tank is how you want to use the water.
Using the water outdoors– for watering the garden and washing the car, for instance– is the fastest way to start, as you most likely just need the supplier to set up the water tank, instead of a licensed plumber. And it will promptly cut your utilization of mains water.
What size water tank do I really need?
The capacity you choose will rely on the size and shape of your household and garden. Round, squat tanks fit efficiently under a deck, while slimline tanks agree with narrow spaces. An underfloor tank or bladder storage system is a good out-of-sight space saver, but is more expensive.
Your roof area and the annual rainfall in your region will also need to be considered. To help determine the size and shape that’s suitable for you, sellers often provide calculators on their internet sites, or your water authority may have the ability to help.
What else do I need to understand before acquiring a water tank?
Rain water tanks typically come in the following materials:
Metal tanks are crafted from corrugated or flat rolled metal, which might be galvanised or coated. They often come with a plastic inner lining (Aquaplate) that will increase the life of the tank and safeguard the water quality.
Polyethylene (plastic) tanks are prominent as they are fairly cheap and durable. Because rust isn’t a conern, they are a very good option for people living near the ocean. Other synthetic materials, such as PVC and geotextile, are used for bladder storage. Bladders are useful for water storage below a deck or floor; while their material is tough, it’s not intended for outdoor installation.
Fibreglass tanks are rust and chemical-resistant and designed to withstand extreme temperature levels. They’re not the cheapest solution, and more suitable for above-ground installation, while all other styles can also be installed below ground.
Concrete tanks, more frequently used for agricultural and industrial applications, won’t rust, burn, melt or blow away. They could be bought ready-made, or customized onsite.
Ask your local council and water supplier which rules and regulations are applicable in your region. You may need to submit a development or building application, and there may be guidelines around drinking rainwater or mosquito breeding prevention, along with restrictions on the tank’s placement, colour, height and labelling or noise regulations for a pump.
Are you renovating, building new or retrofitting?
If you are restoring or building, as opposed to retrofitting, you may need to incorporate energy and water-efficient characteristics in your plans to fulfill new legislative requirements.
When obtaining quotes, inquire if there are any supplementary costs for delivery and installation; extra materials (such as pipes, fittings and taps); optional extras (such as a first-flush or backflow-prevention device); a pump (unless you can make use of gravity for water pressure); and a stand (unless you wish to put it on the ground or below it, through which case you’ll need to look into the cost of special ground prep or excavation).
If you want to connect the tank to your mains supply of water, consider the cost of a licensed plumber, and prices for any extra work that needs to get done to your roof and/or guttering.
Can you obtain a water tank rebate?
Talk to your local water or government authority to see if you’re entitled to a cash rebate or bill reduction– the answer may hinge on the size of the rainwater tank and whether it’s connected to a toilet and/or washing machine.
Rainwater tanks can vary from around $700 to $2000, starting from a small, freestanding model without pump or extras, to large, custom-built models. Costs vary depending on the size, material, finish and strength of the tank.