Just as we can capture and use the energy from the sun, you can harvest and use stored rainwater at any time to water the garden, wash the car, flush the loo and top up the pool and, and it's free!
Almost 40% of homes in Queensland have a rainwater tank. These can be simple free standing, collecting rain from your gutters and roof tops with an overflow pipe and a tap, or can be connected to your toilets and washing machine, with the ability to be automatically topped up by mains water when rain is scarce.
Choose a tank that suits your needs and the size of your home and family. There are many options for water storage, you can store under the house in space-saving bladders or find a metal or polyethylene tank that compliments your home. Talk to a Living Smart Solutions supplier who can discuss options so you can make a choice that is right for your household.
As a guide, running your hose at maximum capacity can use up to 20 litres per minute, so a full 1000-litre tank will provide around 50 minutes of hosing.
Source: Rainwater Tanks
Rainwater tanks are regulated through the councils' building/plumbing approval processes.
Useful Fact Sheets
- Waterwise and Rainwater Tanks
- Rainwater Tanks - A guide to Keeping your Tank Safe (Queensland Health)—information on appropriate uses for, and health risks associated with, water stored in rainwater tanks.
If you have a tank, take the time to record the size and how full it currently is. Using the information provided caclulate what this equates to in hosing time (unregistered activity).
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Useful Tips and Facts
- A standard showerhead may use up to 25 litres of water per minute whereas water-efficient showerhead might use as little as seven litres per minute, which is less than a third.
- A water-efficient washing machine may use only one-third the water of an inefficient model.
- An old-style single-flush toilet could use up to 12 litres of water per flush, while a standard dual flush toilet uses just a quarter of this on a half-flush.
- As a guide, running your hose at maximum capacity can use up to 20 litres per minute, so a full 1000-litre tank will provide around 50 minutes of hosing.
- Ask council to provide you with a species list most suitable to your local conditions.
- Check for leaks regularly as even one dripping tap can waste up to 2,000 litres per month. To do this, turn off your water for a few hours, if your meter reading changes it will be obvious that you have a leak.
- Check your pool for leaks. A leaking pool can lose up to 500 litres a day.
- Check your toilet for leaks, a leaking toilet can use up to 15 litres every day.
- Checking your water meter regularly allows you to notice if your property has any hidden leaks.
- Many native plants conserve water with small leaves often covered in a tough or hairy surface. Internal water storage and deep roots help them survive in times of drought.
- Moreton bay residents are entitled to a free cubic metre of mulch a month from the local waste facility.
- Mulch your garden regularly. This helps maintain moisture in the soil and control weeds that compete with plants for water.
- Regularly check outdoor taps, pipes and plumbing fixtures for leaks. A single dripping tap can waste up to 2,000 litres a month.
- Take note of the rainfall your garden receives. If your area has received significant rainfall (more than 50mm) it may be weeks before you need to water again.
- To rinse your razor, run a little water into a plugged sink. Rinsing your razor under a running tap wastes a lot of water.
- Water deeply and less frequently to encourage plants and lawn to grow deeper roots and be more resilient to dry times. Twice a week should be sufficient if you have a well-mulched garden, suitable soil and established plants
- Where possible reduce the amount of time you use your garbage disposal unit. This will save up to 7 litres a minute.