Unless you’ve ever lived on a farm, hooking up a rainwater tank probably isn’t something you’ve ever thought about. After all, you’re hooked up to the main water grid, why tamper with it?
Well, if you live in a city like Auckland where water usage is taxed this could impact your bills directly, whereas if you live in Wellington, WREMO has teamed with a supplier to make a 200L tank and kit available to households for only $105.
Beyond that, here are five reasons a rainwater tank may just be the next big thing in sustainable urban living.
As we’ve seen with the Canterbury earthquake, and others around the world, an earthquake or natural disaster can disrupt water supply for weeks or even months on end. I’m sure we all took that lesson to heart and stocked up on emergency bottles, but an external tank consistently replenished with fresh water can give a lot of peace of mind.
So long as you take some simple precautions, rain water is perfectly safe to drink. But if you are worried about it, or simply can’t afford the consents to connect it to your taps, there are plenty of other ways you can put that tank to use. From watering your herb garden or veggie patch, to running the washing machine or manually flushing your toilet. While most people use about 20L a day, only two or three of those are actually drunk.
This one is particularly simple: utilising a major natural resource for personal general use, lessens strain on our public utilities, even if just a little bit, while also lowering our water waste. Next to solar panels this is the purest form of self sufficiency, and a great stepping stone to recycling grey water.
It will never be practical for every household to switch solely to private tanks, but everyone doing a little bit will always help.
While there is a small investment, most small tanks are well under $1000 and shipped straight to your door. Most metrics put a single person’s general household water usage at around 20L per day, so with an average summer of rainfall a 500L tank can supply a four person household with around thirty days of water. That 500L tank will only cost around $430. And of course, if you live in Wellington, there is the previously mentioned deal as well.
With a typical tank, about 2000 Litres, installed for outdoor use only, you generally don’t actually need building consent to install one if you are in the greater Wellington area. In Auckland the same holds true, though with some exceptions depending on size and how it installed.
Of course it’s always best to check your local council website for the specific rules within your area, it’s generally very simple to get one installed. In fact, you often won’t even need professional help to install it!