Guidance on use of rainwater tanks

Preface

Page last updated: March 2011

This third edition of Guidance on use of rainwater tanks has been produced by the Environmental Health Committee (enHealth) of the Australian Health Protection Committee to revise the monograph produced in 2004. The revision was thought timely in response to the ongoing interest in using rainwater tanks by householders and the commercial sector in both rural and urban areas. This increased interest has arisen because of widespread drought conditions, predictions of worldwide shortages of fresh water as populations continue to grow, and increased water restrictions. The number of agencies offering incentives for installation of domestic tanks has also increased.

The edition has been formatted to ensure consistency with the framework for drinking water quality management incorporated in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2004 (ADWG). The framework advocates implementation of a preventive risk management approach for assuring water quality.

The guidance document consolidates the most up-to-date information and advice as a resource for Environmental Health Officers and other professionals, and for those members of the public seeking detailed guidance. Information is provided on the range of potential hazards that can threaten water quality, preventive measures that can be used to prevent these hazards from contaminating rainwater, straightforward monitoring and maintenance activities, and, where necessary, corrective actions.

Collection and storage of rainwater involves relatively simple systems. A reasonably low level of management can ensure provision of good quality water that can be used for a wide range of purposes including drinking, food preparation, bathing, laundry, toilet flushing and garden watering.

This guidance document includes information on design and installation as well as the potential contribution of rainwater tanks to improved water conservation.

Collection and storage of rainwater involves relatively simple systems. A reasonably low level of management can ensure provision of good quality water that can be used for a wide range of purposes including drinking, food preparation, bathing, laundry, toilet flushing and garden watering.