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

05.More information

Who to contact

  • The information some water suppliers, councils and state departments provide on their websites about using rainwater and greywater is a good start for your research. For example:
  • The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing’s Guidance on use of rainwater tanks contains comprehensive advice on all relevant issues concerning rainwater and your health, and a long list of potential problems, relevant preventive measures and corrective actions. You can download it at www.health.gov.au (type ‘rainwater tanks’ in the search box). Check also on state health departments’ websites.
  • To find a supplier, check in your local Yellow Pages under ‘tank and tank equipment’, or browse the net.
  • Michael Mobbs gives heaps of advice on installing a rainwater tank and recycling waste water in his book Sustainable House. It’s available from CHOICE Books.

Water saving tips

If you’re unable to invest in a rainwater tank or greywater system, you can still save water (and energy costs, if you save on hot water) by changing your habits or installing small water-saving devices around the house and garden.

  • Cut down your time in the shower.
  • Install a water-efficient showerhead, and a flow regulator (restrictor) or aerator to taps to reduce the amount of water that comes out — your council or water supplier may offer rebates.
  • Install a dual-flush toilet (or put a brick in the cistern) to reduce the amount of water used for flushing.
  • Look for a water-rating label when buying appliances such as a showerhead, washing machine (a front loader uses less water), dishwasher and toilet. Together these four account for over 80% of indoor residential water use. The more stars on the label, the more water-efficient the appliance is, up to a maximum of five.
  • Only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine (unless it has a half-load program).
  • Fix all leaking taps.
  • Plant so-called ‘water-wise’ or native plants that need less water, and use mulch.
  • If you’re allowed to use an irrigation system in your garden, use a tap timer.
  • If you’re installing a new irrigation system, choose a drip system with a rain or soil moisture sensor.
  • For hand-watering, use a trigger nozzle or spray wand.

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