Nancy’s Notes

Do you need a water tank?

Part of being an Australian is accepting we have extreme weather variations. It feels like one day we’re hearing about (or cleaning up after) floods and the next day we’re on water restrictions. It’s best to accept this as a small price to pay for living in such a great place.

Having constructed many houses, we’ve watched building industry and council regulations change over the years from mandatory water tanks to optional when droughts break. Obviously if it’s a building regulation then you have no choice but if it’s not a requirement then perhaps we should think about whether the household water tank is really necessary.

When faced with this consideration in the past, we used to think ‘Yes’, absolutely ‘Yes’ but have changed our tune over the years.  Still huge fans of playing our role in water conservation as we never know when the rain will stop and dam levels will drop to a frightening low, but we’re a little skeptical when it comes to the household water tank. How much does it really save? We’ve had it both ways and to be honest, we don’t notice much of a difference in water bills. Furthermore, we need water the most when it’s not raining but that’s when the tank is empty.

There are 2 ways to connect your water tank. One is simply to use it for outdoor requirements and the other is to connect it to your washing machine and toilets (or any other suitable indoor plumbing). If you connect it to your indoor usage then the plumbing requirements are more complex and come with potential problems because the tank itself is connected throughout the house then has to switch to mains water when it’s empty. Having had this setup in multiple houses, it does not come stress free. Furthermore the investment in the tank and the additional plumbing is not an insignificant cost. As households only use a fraction of the water in Queensland compared to industry, if we’re not saving in costs then is it really worth the investment?

Perhaps consider a water tank but only use it for gardening and car washing, rather than the extra plumbing?  In our opinion, this is another purchase that can appear more beneficial than it really is and possibly not worthy of the investment.