Rainwater tanks are a great way to decrease your demand on treated water from mains water, as well as reducing the stormwater run-off which can pollute waterways.
What can tank water be used for?
Tank water can be used for purposes such as flushing toilets, washing clothing, topping up swimming pools, watering the garden or washing your car.
Things to consider when choosing a rainwater tank
What will you use the water for?
This will affect the size of the tank you select. A minimum 5000 litre tank is recommended when using the rainwater for household activities. Internal as well as external use of rainwater is the best environmental outcome, as it ensures that the water in the tank is used regularly.
How big is your roof?
Roof area determines how much water you can collect. If rainwater is only able to be collected from part of your roof, you may need to adjust your downpipes or install more than one tank.
Do you have enough space for the tank?
A traditional round 5000 litre tank will need an area of 1.7 metres in diameter and 2.3 metres in height. Underground tanks are an option, but they can be expensive and you will need a DA. Slimline tanks may be a better option for limited space. They can be installed between the side of the house and the fenceline provided there is a 450mm gap for access.
How will you maintain the tank?
Dust and debris on the roof of the house can contaminate the water. A flush-first device should be used, and it should be regularly cleaned. Gutters and leaf-screens should also be regularly checked.
What about mosquitoes?
To prevent mosquitoes from entering the tank, all inlets and outlets to the tank will need to be blocked with insect-proof screens.
Backflow Prevention Devices
Where the tank is also connected to Council’s water supply, a backflow prevention device to be connected to the tank to reduce the risk of contamination of the reticulated water supply. This needs to be installed by a licensed plumber in accordance with AS/NZS 3500 and the NSW Code of Practice.
Council’s Rainwater Tank Policy
Council has adopted a “Rainwater Tanks – Reticulated Water Supply Areas ” Policy. Any tank installation must be compliant with this Policy.
Do I need a development application to install a rainwater tank?
Bathurst Regional Council residents are not required to lodge a development application (DA) if they meet the exemption criteria for either:
- Bathurst Regional Development Control Plan (Exempt Development); OR
- State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development
To discuss the exempt development criteria, or to discuss what is required for a DA, phone Council’s planning team on 02 6333 6211.
When selecting your tank installer, ensure they are reputable and can demonstrate they comply with the exempt development provisions of State Environmental Planning Policy – Exempt and Complying Development Codes and all other relevant guidelines for the installation of rainwater tanks.
NSW Health offers guidelines for maintaining your rainwater tank.