It’s raining water tanks: top tips for keeping them healthy and efficient
Article published by CSIRO 11 February 2015 Author: Adam Knight
Australia is the driest populated continent in the world, and yet our water consumption per person is among the highest on the planet. For Australians, water is scarce and how we manage this resource is a concern for us all.
It’s no surprise that people are looking to install some form of water catchment for their property. Recent data shows that 26 per cent of Australian homes have already installed a rainwater tank and an overwhelming majority reported that they are positive about the tanks.
From saving money on your water bills to the conservation of a valuable natural resource, there is a lot to like about the humble rainwater tank.
More than a quarter of Australian households have a rainwater tank. Picture credit: ABC.net.au
They can even have other positive flow-on effects for the community. For example, the use of rainwater tanks in urban areas can relieve pressure on public infrastructure because of reduced stormwater runoff. We’ve also seen the popularity of rainwater tanks increase year on year, with the ABS reporting that the total storage capacity in Australia has gone up by 30 per cent between 2006 and 2011.
This is all very encouraging news for the environment – but, it’s not all drinking water and skittles. Just like buying a puppy dog or a Tamagotchi, owning a rainwater tank comes with its own responsibilities.
A recent study we conducted with the Smart Water Fund has shown that households may not be aware of some of the maintenance requirements that come with rainwater tank ownership.
In the report, Survey of savings and conditions of rainwater tanks, we conducted extensive research into rainwater systems across Melbourne, looking at the efficiency of the tanks and the water savings that can be generated at an individual household level.
One of the most interesting findings was lack of awareness around maintenance. Only 58 per cent of Melbournians indicated that they have conducted some form of maintenance on their system.
It’s important to know that the installation of a rainwater tank isn’t a set-and-forget scenario. There are some maintenance tasks that are unavoidable if you want to keep the tank healthy and efficient.