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Rainwater collection

Posted by on Oct 11th, 2009 and filed under Recycling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Drop of water

Rainwater tanks, traditionally an icon of the Australian outback, are becoming a more common feature in urban communities, with around 17% of all households installing a tank on their property. More households need to purchase a rainwater tank if the community is to make a real difference to conserve rapidly depleting water supplies.

Why use rainwater?

  • Using rainwater can reduce your water bills as rainwater is free. Tank rebate schemes are available in many states. For further information, contact your local water retailer.
  • Collecting rainwater allows you to be prepared for times of low rainfall, so you can still maintain your garden, especially if there are water restrictions in your area.
  • It reduces the load on stormwater systems because roof runoff is not flushed into the drains.
  • Using rainwater reduces the need to build more water storage dams, which may have to be situated in environmentally sensitive areas.

Benefits of installing a rainwater tank

  • Saves large amounts of water which can be used in the garden or in the home.
  • Requires a relatively simple system which is easy to use.
  • During the wet season, when the garden doesn’t need any extra watering, rainwater can be connected to the house and used for toilet flushing as well as in the laundry
  • Rainwater is also suitable for use in pools and for washing cars
  • In some rural areas, it is possible to use rainwater for all domestic uses, and not draw upon the mains supply.

Issues associated with rainwater use

There are some important factors that affect the quality of rainwater, which may also become health issues:

  • Contamination from pollutants found in roof and pipe materials.
  • Contamination from bird droppings, local pollution, and organic material collected on the roof.
  • Breeding of mosquitos in the water supply.
The quality of water you need to maintain will depend on its use. However, water from rooftops that contain harmful chemicals should not be used for any purpose. Obviously, drinking water will have to meet the standards set by health authorities.

These quality issues can be overcome if you use approved products and techniques. Tanks and other equipment must meet the required standards, and state health authorities will approve most reputable manufacturers and installers. Your local water authority should be able to recommend high quality products and approve your system.

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