At home

Rainwater tanks

Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials (metal, concrete, polythene or fibreglass), rainwater tanks are essential in many regional parts of Australia and can be just as useful in urban areas.

Rainwater tanks help to:

  • Provide water for flushing toilets, washing clothes and the pool.
  • Reduce your water consumption.
  • Reduce your water bills.
  • Reduce stormwater on roads, drainage infrastructure, creeks, streams and beaches.
  • Reduce contaminants in our waterways.
  • Reduce the amount of sewage discharged to the ocean or rivers.
  • Irrigate your garden during periods of drought.

Frequently asked questions

Is rainwater from a tank safe to drink?

The NSW Department of Health does not recommend drinking the rainwater, unless the tank is well-maintained to ensure it is not contaminated.

How do I install a rainwater tank?

Before installing your tank, check that it meets your local council's requirements. Rainwater tanks connected to toilets or washing machines must have a device to prevent backflow into the mains supply. Connections must be performed or supervised by a NSW licensed plumber and meet regulatory guidelines.

What is the difference between mains, town, reticulated and drinking water?

Essentially, these are all same. Mains water is of drinking quality (also called potable water), and supplied by water authorities, local government and utility companies through a network of pipes. Different authorities use different terms for mains water.

What does mains top-up mean?

To maintain water quality, rainwater tanks should not be allowed to run dry. Most rainwater tanks, especially ones that are plumbed into the house, are topped up with mains water during periods without rain. Contact your local water utility to check on any restriction requirements for rainwater tanks with mains top-up.

What is a first-flush device?

A first-flush device sends the initial rainwater collected from your roof into the normal stormwater system. This helps to reduce contaminants and sediment from the roof entering your rainwater tank.

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Page last updated: 07 September 2016