Installing rain water systems and rainwater tanks requires some forethought to maximise efficiency of your rainwater harvesting system.
Position the water tank correctly. Water tanks are best positioned on the side of the house that receives the most shade, to allow collected rainwater to maintain an even temperature.
Maximise your rainwater use. Use your rainwater regularly so that your tank is not too full to harvest when it rains. If rainwater is mostly used for your garden alone, your water tank will remain full and unused during the winter months when your garden does not require watering. Consider also plumbing your rainwater tank to the laundry or toilet so that there is the capacity to constantly use collected rainwater.
Smart rainwater use. Rainwater patterns can be variable; how much falls and where it falls can change from year to year. Be smart about how you use harvested rainwater to make it go the longest way possible. The most suited uses for rainwater include:
- In the laundry. For maximum benefit, re-use the treated greywater from your laundry to flush the toilet or divert the untreated greywater to feed the garden.
- In the garden. Rainwater is often better for plants than mains water. Harvest rainwater to supplement greywater use in the garden during dry spells and give your plants a treat.
- To flush the toilet. Where you are primarily collecting rainwater for garden watering, also plumb to flush the toilet so you can maximise the use of your collected rainwater.
Clean gutters, clean rainwater. Clean the gutters regularly and fit them with leaf guards or gutter protectors to ensure the best possible water quality from your stored rainwater. It also prevents more expensive maintenance down the track (such as cleaning water tanks out more regularly than required).
Regular water tank maintenance. Clean mosquito screens on water inlets, outlets and first-flush diverters and replace them when needed. Also, regularly maintain any filters as required. Drain and clean out your water tank every few years to remove any accumulated sediment.
Easy access to the pump. Ensure easy access to your pump and water tank inlets and outlets. This makes it much easier and cheaper if you need repairs.
Use excess overflow where it’s needed. During heavy or continuous rainfall, once your water tank(s) fill, ensure any excess rainwater is diverted back to your stormwater downpipe system. You can choose to use this overflow to further water garden beds that may have thick canopies (which means less immediate rainfall to the roots) with a simple diverter and the correct watering system. Please note that it is illegal in some municipalities to connect water tank overflows to the sewer system.
Source: Community Environment eHub
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