Rainwater Harvesting

Water is a precious resource on the driest inhabited continent and for those living with a town water supply is a luxury that most take for granted. Now more than ever a reliable water supply is of great importance to our survival.

With rainwater harvesting our roofs and other flat surfaces can be used to capture water and our gutters and drains take this valuable commodity to our concrete water tanks to be stored to meet our needs. The tanks can be both rainwater and greywater tanks, with even run-off water being stored in the grey water tanks for use on gardens and crops.

Being self-sufficient in meeting our own water needs is well within the reach of most Australians through the purchase and installation of suitable tanks and pumps. And for those not connected to town water, it's important to know this commodity is safe and will be available when you need it. And if you are connected, concrete water tanks collecting your rainwater can significantly reduce your water bills.

Related Resources

The resources below have been developed by the Texas A&M University and can help you get the most out of your investment in rainwater harvesting technologies.

In-Home Use Web Course: a free, five-part course about using rainwater for in-home use. It covers basics, proper installation techniques, sizing, treatment, and maintenance.

Rainwater Harvesting: System Planning
This manual was created to help contractors, consultants, land owners, and others plan rainwater harvesting systems. The manual addresses catchments that are less than 50,000 square feet and can store less than 100,000 gallons. It covers all aspects of planning, installing, operating and maintaining such systems, as well as the distribution of water for landscapes, pets, wildlife, livestock, and private potable and non-potable in-home rainwater systems.

Research Advice

Rainwater reuse can provide substantial cost savings for the construction of stormwater infrastructure in new developments. Research has shown, that the Figtree Place development (Newcastle NSW) provided a 1% cost saving ($960 per dwelling) in stormwater infrastructure. The research also found that roof water reuse in a new development would reduce the need for stormwater pipes and end of pipe water quality devices resulting in a 3% cost saving (including the cost to install rainwater tanks).

The reuse of stormwater or roof water can also have significant impact on the provision of water supply headworks and distribution infrastructure. University of Newcastle research shows that the introduction of rainwater tanks to supply domestic toilet, hot water and outdoor uses will significantly defer (38 - 100 years) the need to construct new dams in the Sydney, Lower Hunter and Central Coast regions of NSW. It was also found that the use of rainwater tanks with mains water trickle top can reduce annual maximum daily peak demands by up 40% for domestic dwellings. This can reduce the cost of water distribution (pipe) infrastructure.

Source: stormwater.asn.au (2005)