Harvest and Use your Rainwater
By capturing and using the rain that falls on our houses - water that currently flows into the stormwater drain - we are taking another step in increasing our water efficiency and conserving this precious resource. Have a plumber redirect your down pipes into a tank for storage and install pumps and pipes to service some of your household water needs. By these simple actions, most Australian households would save at least 45,000 litres and hundreds of dollars each year.
How to do it now!
Scope out the benefit of installing a rainwater harvesting system in your home, explore government rebates and think medium to long term.
- Understand the rainfall capturing capacity of your roof. by using the monthly rainfall averages for your area and the surface area of your roof you can calculate the average amount of water you are likely to collect into your water tank each month. The following formulae calculates the annual capture potential of your roof:
Potential estimated average annual capture amount (KL) = roof area (in square meters) x average annual rainfall (in Millimeters)/1000
For example, a roof area of 250 m2 in an area that receives annual rainfall of 600mm will be able to capture 150,000 litres p.a. Assuming the rainfall is spread evenly over the year, i.e. 12500 litres per month, and regular use of this water in toilets and garden watering, a 25,000 litre capacity tank may be sufficient to maximise water capture. However, if the rainfall pattern over the year was more skewed to certain months (i.e winter) then the tank size would need to increase to store more water for the dryer periods…
Annual, monthly and seasonal rainfall averages for most parts of Australia are available on the Bureau of Meteorology webite.
Developing an understanding of your monthly average rainfall capture will enable you to identify what sized tank will maximise your rainwater capture and reuse.
- Get some advice & a quote. Contact a local rainwater tank and tank-to-toilet installation specialist in your area to get some expert advice and a quote on installation.
- Explore a green loan from Bendigo Bank. Whether you’re investing in an environmentally friendly home, renovating your existing home or purchasing products like solar hot water systems, home insulation or a water tank you can benefit from reduced interest rates with Bendigo Bank green Home & Personal Loans.
- Explore government incentives and programs. As we are living through drought years and Australia is water poor, most state governments have rebates to help fund rainwater tank installation. In addition, some states have further incentives and programs to encourage households to install water collection and saving equipment.
- New South Wales - Rainwater tank rebate - up to $1500 for rainwater tanks connected to toilets and washing machines.
- Victoria - Water tank rebate - up to $1000 for rainwater tanks connected to toilets and washing machines.
- Queensland - The Queensland Government currently does not provide a rebate to incentivise the installation of a rainwater tank. They do provide some helpful information relating to installation of rainwater tanks on their WaterWise website.
- South Australia - Rainwater Tank and Plumbing Rebate - a rebate of between $200 and $1000 is being offered towards the cost of purchasing and plumbing a rainwater tank to retrofit into your home for uses such as toilet flushing, clothes washing and for hot water supply.
- Western Australia - the Western Australian Government currently does not provide a rebate for installing a rainwater tank.
- Northern Territory - The Northern Territory Government is providing rebates of up to $1900 after the purchase and installation and plumbing of a rainwater tank to residences and other dwellings as part of their Rainwater Tank Rebate Scheme.
- Local Government Rebates - Smart Watermark - this site lists the State and/or Local government rebate programs available, for the installation of certain water saving fixtures and water tanks, in your area.
- Calculate the cost, benefit and return on investment. By measuring the water bill savings, rebates, and increased home value against the cost to purchase and install a rainwater harvesting system you can calculate the financial value of this investment. For example, installing a 5,000 litre tank connected to the toilet and garden may cost $10,000 with a $1000 rebate and reduce your water bill by $500 per annum.
In addition, a recent study by Energy Partners in Canberra found that a one-star improvement in a home's energy rating coincides with an average increase in advertised sale of price of around $15,000. Hence, the above investment will add at least $10,000 of value to your house should you sell. This equates to a 5.5% annual return plus your investment back.
For more information on selecting a rainwater tank thats right for your conditions including what size tank you will need, check out the Savewater website.
Why this action is important?
Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way - we need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this "lifeblood". The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the drought and famine that can soon follow.
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