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The smart way to find your Tradie

Water Tanks and Recycling Water

Water tanks are finally getting the attention they deserve in Australia. There are many easy options available to anyone renovating or building a new home. There are federal and state rebates available for a range of products and systems. See the

Check out Government rebates for Water saving products

There is also the Water Toolkit available from the Department of Water

The Facts

  • Saves money on excess water bills
  • Reduces storm water run off and our impact on the environment
  • Generous Government rebates available
  • New designs are available to suit any application from the older style round tank, oval tanks, tanks that can be used as screening or fencing, ones that sit under the eaves, underground tanks, even bladders for under the house or deck.
  • Choose from Polyethylene or Steel

The first questions to consider are:

  • Do you want to capture rain water for use within the home (flushing toilets/ washing machine)
  • Do you want to capture rain water for use on the garden
  • Do you want to recycle water from your house for the garden
  • All of the above

There are 2 separate systems

  • Grey Water Reuse System
  • Rain Water Harvesting Tank

Grey water recycling

Find a system supplier

Mains water that is used in the house then re-used elsewhere is called ‘grey water’. Grey water is the washing machine water,basin, shower water etc. It is not the toilet water which is termed ‘black water’

Recycled grey water is commonly used on the garden but some systems allow you to use the water for flushing the toilet. Best practice for the garden is to use subsurface irrigation. This means an irrigation pipe with holes or drippers is laid under the soil/mulch. Grey water is not recommended for watering of edible plants. Systems vary widely, some have self cleaning storage tanks while other have no storage and deliver direct to the garden.

Rebates are available for collection systems/pumps and for irrigation pipe.

Recycling of your mains water is a really good idea for Perth. Because we can have very long dry spells, recycling your shower water onto the garden means that even if it hasn't rained for a month you still have water for your garden without having to have a commercial sized tank. We all shower and wash our clothes regularly no matter if it has rained or not.

Rain Water Tanks

Find a supplier

A rain water tank captures the rain from your roof and can be used inside the house for the washing machine or flushing the toilet, or you can just use the rain water on the garden. Systems can be very basic with just a hose watering directly onto the garden or they can be fully automated pump systems that integrate with your mains water. The automated systems return to mains water if the tank gets low, you won’t even know you’re using the tank water. 1st Filter systems can be programmed to allow the initial rain to be diverted so as to get rid of any pollutants, you can then have a second filtration system added to filter out tanins (from leaf litter) which discolour the water -this will be neccessary if you have overhanging trees and want to use the water for running the washing machine, or flushing the toilet for that matter- no one wants brown water in the toilet.

Remember Rain water tanks can only harvest water from the downpipes they are connected to. Your tank will be able to harvest water from two maybe three downpipes if it's an under eaves tank. If you have an underground tank you may be able to harvest from all your downpipes with additional piping running in. You can also have multiple tanks serviced by the one mains back up system.

Remember the golden rule- 1 square metre of roof with 1mil of rain = 1litre of water harvested

Perth residents really need a 3000-5000 litre tank to make it worthwhile to install (NSW and VIC have a minimum 2000 litre and QLD have a minimum 5000 litre and they all get a lot more rain than we do)

Steel or Poly

Poly / Polyethylene tanks

  • Good for residential use (low to medium capacity)
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Minimum surface preparation
  • Can melt/burn in the case of bushfires
  • Outlets most be specified before manufacture

Steel Tanks

  • Best on a concrete pad or timber stand (check manufactuer instructions)
  • Larger sizes available
  • Range of colours
  • Asthetically pleasing
  • Will not warp or crack with UV exposure and harsh WA conditions
  • Outlets can be added after manufacture if required

Position and Requirements

Think about the position of your tank

  • The southern side of the house is always a good idea as laundries and bathrooms are often located there
  • Away from Alfresco's and north facing windows. Ensure your tank won't obstruct windows
  • Your tank will need a pad or paving to sit on- you can have a pad laid with the floor slab
  • Mains power if you are having a pump
  • Access to mains water if you are having a mains back up system
  • A tap high enough to get a watering can under if the water is for the garden

Helpful Hints

Round tanks will always be the cheapest. This is because the circular structure is self supporting and requires no internal bracing. Flat or oval structures will need internal bracing to avoid bowing in the middle.

You can also check out the WA Water Authority site for current rebates.