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 some of that downpour: it’ll reduce your environmental footprint by minimizing your demand on mains water and the quantity of stormwater runoff into rivers and oceans, and can also slash your water bill in the long 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 modest or tricky urban spaces.
Water for outdoor or indoor use?
Easily the most important issue to consider before you get and install a water tank is how you intend to use the water.
Using the water outdoors– for watering the garden and washing the car, for instance– is the easiest way to start, as you probably just need the supplier to set up the rainwater tank, instead of a licensed plumber. And it will promptly cut your utilization of mains water.
What size water tank do I need?
The capacity you choose will be dependent on the shapes and size of your household and garden. Round, squat tanks fit very well under a deck, while slimline tanks are good for 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 area will also have to be considered. To help determine the size and shape that’s ideal for you, sellers often provide calculators on their websites, or your water authority may have the capacity to help.
What else do I need to recognize before getting a water tank?
Rain water tanks commonly can be found in the following materials:
Metal tanks are crafted from corrugated or flat rolled metal, which may be galvanised or coated. They often include a plastic inner lining (Aquaplate) that will enhance the quality of life of the tank and give protection to the water quality.
Polyethylene (plastic) tanks are well-known as they are comparatively cheap and durable. Because rust isn’t a conern, they are a great option for people living near the sea. Other synthetic materials, such as PVC and geotextile, are utilized for bladder storage. Bladders work 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 temperatures. They’re not the cheapest alternative, and better for above-ground installation, while all other types can also be installed below ground.
Concrete tanks, more frequently used for agricultural and industrial intentions, won’t rust, burn, melt or blow away. They can possibly be bought ready-made, or customized onsite.
Ask your regional council and water supplier which rules and regulations apply 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 specific location, colour, height and labelling or noise regulations for a pump.
Are you refurbishing, building new or retrofitting?
If you are restoring or building, as opposed to retrofitting, you may have to incorporate energy and water-efficient functions in your plans to comply with new legislative requirements.
When getting quotes, ask if there are any additional 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 want to put it on the ground or below it, through which case you’ll need to think about the cost of special ground prep or excavation).
If you wish to connect the tank to your mains water system, consider the cost of a licensed plumber, and costs for any extra work that needs to be done to your roof and/or guttering.
Can you receive a water tank rebate?
Get in touch with your local water or government authority to see if you’re entitled to a cash grant or bill reduction– the answer may depend upon the size of the rain water 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 upon the size, material, finish and strength of the tank.