Catching rainwater is a sustainable way to use water for gardening or as an alternative water source. In order to get good use out of a rainwater tank, you need to link it to some type of indoor or outdoor use such as toilet flushing, washing clothes, or irrigating a garden. By taking this approach, you can use collected rainwater throughout the year, especially during the winter months.
Whilst rainwater should not be collected for drinking water in urban areas, it can be used regularly, as mentioned, for watering the garden, flushing a toilet, or laundering clothes. Industrial emissions collect on rainwater tank roofs in the city. That is why the water from the tanks is not suitable for drinking.
Using Rainwater in the Garden
The percentage of household water used for a garden varies from 25% to 50% across Australia, depending on the geographic location of a household. Large rainwater tanks in Sydney tend to be more beneficial as the water can be used to get homeowners through droughts or dry spells without using potable water.
Where space may be an issue, you might consider buying two smaller tanks instead of one large rainwater tank. Also, you can use an irrigation system or sprinkler on your lawn or garden with a rainwater tank, provided your tank is not topped up by or linked to a drinking water system.
Using Rainwater for Flushing
A toilet uses up to 12 litres of water per flush. Therefore, connecting a rainwater tank to a toilet system can lead to a major savings in water usage. An average individual uses about 30 litres of water to flush his or her toilet each day, or about 210 litres weekly.
You can also install an automatic diversion from your mains water supply if a rainwater tank is empty. Alternatively, a trickle top-up system, which uses a float value, can be used to measure the amount of water in the tank. When the water level is low, the mains water will trickle into the tank in order to top it up.
Using Rainwater to Launder Your Clothes
You can also experience big savings in water usage if you connect your washing machine to a rainwater tank. Washing machines normally use in excess of 150 litres of water each load, and most households launder about five loads each week. By using a 4.5-star water-efficient washer with a capacity of 7kg, water consumption is cut down to 60 litres of water per wash, which also reduces the depletion rate of a rainwater tank.
Making a Selection of a Rainwater Tank
Rainwater tanks come in a varied selection of materials, shapes, and sizes. Selecting the best water tank for your situation will help you preserve a precious resource and lower your water bill. There are a number of points to consider when making a selection.
One of the main decisions you need to make is related to the size of the tank. Therefore, you need to answer the following questions:
- How often will I be using the rainwater?
- How much rain does my locale receive?
- How much space do I have for a tank?
- Will my tank need structural support?
Take some time to explore your options. By doing so, you can make the best use of your water and the money you invest.