In areas of Australia where water is scarce during the summer, capturing rainfall can help provide water for gardens, lawns, and the washing of vehicles. However, you will need storage tanks for capturing and storing the rainwater until it is needed. Here are five tips for keeping rainwater for watering gardens and doing outside cleaning chores.
Choose Durable Containers
Most rainwater tanks are made from either a heavy-duty plastic or aluminium, so you will want to choose a material which works best for your needs. The size of tank you need will sometimes determine the material choice, as aluminium is often used for extremely large storage tanks. However, most residential water tanks in NSW are small and are often stored underground to keep the water cool and to save space.
Cover the Tanks
Having open water containers around your house could attract pests and wildlife that you don’t want hovering around. Mosquitos, wasps, bees, and other insects will be attracted by the scent of water, especially during the hottest parts of the summer when small creeks or ponds have gone dry. Some wildlife may also be attracted to the water, so be sure to buy tanks with covers to keep pests and animals away from your house.
Place Tanks under Spouts
The best way to collect rainwater is to capture it as it flows from the roof and goes down the gutters. Place tanks or barrels under the gutter spouts to capture as much water as possible. It is important to keep your gutters free from debris, because as the water rushes down the drain spouts, the debris will be washed down with it into your tank. To keep leaves, sticks, and other debris out of the gutters, use a leaf screen so that nothing can get washed into the guttering.
Order a Pump
If you have a cistern underground to store rainwater, you will need to have a pump attached to it so you can pull the water from the cistern. A garden hose can be attached to a pump to water your garden or lawn and wash vehicles and the exterior of your house as needed. If you are only using above-ground tanks, a hose can be attached to a spigot at the bottom of the tank to water the grounds or for cleaning purposes.
Consider Other Uses
Rainwater can also be captured for other uses like flushing toilets and washing clothes. Some people even use rainwater for watering livestock and to back up their mains water supply. However, that involves a more sophisticated setup, which may require professional installation and will cost much more to connect. Make sure any rainwater used for watering livestock or for human consumption is properly treated to remove harmful bacteria.
By capturing rainwater to use for watering your garden, washing your cars, or doing laundry, you can save as much as 50% of the drinkable water in your home. As you save drinking water, you will also reduce the amount you pay for mains water, while still maintaining a flourishing garden and a green lawn.