Rainwater is a natural and free source of fresh water. If you live in the country, rainwater may already be part or all of your water supply.

Harvesting rainwater in a tank gives you a personal supply of water to use during water restrictions and can help to reduce your water bills.

Rainwater tanks

The best water tank for you will depend on your budget, the amount of room you have for the tank, local council guidelines and requirements, the size of the tank and your use of the rainwater.

You might be eligible for rebates or other assistance to help with the cost of installing a new rainwater tank.

Health and safety

In urban areas it may not be best to drink rainwater because of pollution risks. If you're in a rural area, you may only need to install a water filter. Check the health and safety requirements with your local council.

If you live in an older home with asbestos roof sheeting or lead flashing on the roof, it can be dangerous to drink rainwater collected from the roof.

See Department of Health and Ageing—Guidance on use of rainwater tanks

Using rainwater

It's easy to use rainwater on your garden with the right hoses and equipment. If your tank is lower than the area you want to water, you'll need to connect an electric pump. If your tank is higher than the area you want to water you can use gravity to feed the water onto your garden.

If you want to use rainwater indoors, you'll need a plumber to connect pipe-work from the tank to your house.

Tank size (volume)

If you aren't connected to mains water you'll probably need a tank capacity of between 50,000 and 100,000 litres depending on where you live, your rainfall patterns and how much water you use.

Research the amount of rainfall to expect in your area. The size of your roof will affect how much rain you can collect. See the savewater! website for more information on selecting a rainwater tank.

Tank types and positions

Rainwater tanks are made from plastic, concrete, galvanised steel or coated steel.

The best spot for your tanks will depend on how you already use the area and the set-up of your gutters and downpipes.

Tanks can be positioned next to your home, as storage walls (a line of rectangular tanks) or underground to save space.

Bladders are soft-sided water tanks that can be installed under the floor or under a deck.

Tank maintenance

A rainwater tank requires regular maintenance. However, you can reduce maintenance by keeping gutters clean and using a first-flush diverter to capture the first flow of rainwater from your roof before it enters the tank. Diverters help to reduce the amount of dust and other contaminants like bird droppings and pollution.

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Did you know?

  • Keeping a traditional lawn green can use up to 90 per cent of your gardening water.