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Catching rainwater and storing it in a tank is a great way to conserve water. With the right plumbing, the stored water can be used for things like watering the garden outside and flushing toilets inside the home. Check with your local building and water regulators before installing a tank to check local regulations, including the need for a building consent or permit.
Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing a water tank.
First, determine what you’ll be using the water tank for. Will you use it primarily outside, to water garden beds and the lawn? Or would you also like to use the water inside – to flush toilets, for example? Would you like to take the usage a step further and use the water to wash clothes or to bathe and shower? (It may be possible with the right system).
Once you’ve determined what you’ll be using your water tank for, you can start thinking about the size of the tank you’ll need, where you might want to place it, and how it will need to be plumbed.
The size of tank you’ll need is based on how much water you will use and how much you might collect in a season. Work with your plumber to calculate your usage as well as the amount of water you’re likely to collect.
Here’s a rough calculation to follow: Your roof area, from the roof that you will be collecting the water from (in square metres), multiplied by the annual average rainfall (in millimetres) in your area equals the maximum rain harvesting capacity (in litres). This will give you some idea of how much water you might be able to collect and store.
Once you know the capacity you’ll need, you can start looking at the various storage and placement options.
There are many different types and styles of rainwater tanks – for example, standard corrugated, slimline, below ground and even bladder tank systems that can be hidden under the deck. Each system has its pros and cons, so consider which elements are important to your needs.
There are always regulations to consider when adding things to your property and rainwater tanks are no exception.
The tank might have to be connected to a solenoid which helps bring water in from the mains if the tank runs dry, which can happen in hot, dry summers. Rainwater tanks must also be signed off by a registered plumber, who will ensure that everything is working safely and correctly. Check with your local building authority to see if you need a ‘building consent or permit’ – you may need one.