Rainwater tanks buying guide

It’s time we stopped wasting precious drinking water on the garden and for toilet-flushing.
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  • Updated:1 Jul 2008

04.Case study

When Peter Dixon and Megan Kessler renovated their home, they put in a rainwater tank and had it connected to the plumbing. They thought it their duty to do so, as both work in environmental management.

“We’d been arguing professionally to improve our river systems for years,” said Peter, “and we felt it was worth the extra cost.”

Peter and Megan live in the Sydney suburb of Granville. Although it’s been very dry there in recent times, their tank hasn’t run dry yet. Lack of space forced them to limit the tank capacity to 3000 L, but their large roof area helps them collect enough water every month for their suburban garden, washing machine and one of the toilets.

“While it’s drought conditions I keep the vegies going rather than growing,” said Peter. Although they’re using rainwater, they’re still bound by Sydney’s water restrictions because the tank has a top-up connection to the mains water supply.

When choosing a tank and a solar-powered pump, Peter and Megan had to do much of the research themselves, online. “It’s a pity there’s no good website that provides a one-stop shop for all the information you need about tanks, pumps, plumbing and so on,” Peter said.

He eventually found useful information on Sydney Water’s website, and a calculator on the Upper Parramatta River Catchment Trust’s website that helped him work out the tank capacity they needed (see more information, for web addresses).

Since their renovations, when they also installed a water-efficient front-loading washing machine, Peter and Megan have been able to more than halve their water consumption from the mains supply.

“I feel bloody good about it,” said Peter, who in his working life has been educating people on how to lower their impact on the environment. “Living in an urban environment means I’ve had to adjust common solutions to limited space, and it helps me live what I preach.

“And it makes me think a lot about it. We’ve become more water-wise and reduced consumption in all aspects of our water use.”


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