Water, the new valuable commodity

Auckland has been experiencing a water shortage since late 2019. When 40 days of no rain set a new record in January-February 2020, Aucklanders started taking notice. They managed for most of the year with water restrictions and conversations revolved around the current water levels at the dams in Auckland’s Hūnua and Waitākere ranges. Most of us started to really pay attention to how much water we were using (and potentially wasting).

Many people in and around Auckland (who aren’t already on tank water) started wondering if it is worth getting a water tank to top up their supply from their centralised water network. When you start looking at all the ways you use water, you realise that in many instances you don’t necessarily need tap water (or potable water) – and tank water would be a great way to use rain that we do get.

Some of the benefits of having a water tank

A water tank provides you with an affordable way to reduce the amount of water you pay for from your water provider. Rainwater/stormwater that runs off the roof is collected through the downpipes from spouting to the tank.

According to Auckland Council, collecting rainwater enables you to:

  • make use of a readily available natural resource
  • generate your own water supply should there be a water restriction or in times of an emergency
  • save money on your water bill by using roof-collected rainwater to water the garden, wash the car or flush the toilet.

Recognising the critical role that water tanks play in Auckland’s overall water conservation, and to incentivise residential rainwater collection, Auckland Council made two important changes in 2020:

  1. Auckland Council has removed resource consent fees for the installation of rainwater tanks at residential properties;
  2. Through a change to the Auckland Unitary Plan, water tanks are now a requirement for new residential property developments.

Whether you’re building a new home or are thinking about adding a water tank to your existing property, we believe the benefits far outweigh the initial costs of installing a water tank – even if it is just for non-potable water to top up your central supply water.

Can you get potable water from a water tank?

Potable water is safe for consumption – it is safe to drink, cook with, brush your teeth with, wash and shower with, give to your pets, fill your pool or spa with. Any water that is going to be consumed or potentially swallowed – by you or your pets – should be potable to prevent illness or infection.

Yes, you can get potable water from a water tank. You might need a different tank for potable water than you would use for non-potable water. Like houses and baches that rely on tank water for their main water supply, if you want potable water from your tank, the water needs to be collected, stored and filtered specifically so that it’s safe for consumption.

You need to ensure the downpipes and tank are clean and free from debris, animals, birds, and other matter. A tank for potable water often also has a fine mesh debris screen, insect-proof screens and an inlet pipe with a ‘U’ bend in the pipe to control the disturbance of sediment as water flows in.

If you are connecting your rainwater tank to your property’s plumbing, you may need a building consent (depending on the capacity of the water tank and its height above ground). You will need a qualified, registered plumber to install your plumbing joining the rainwater tank to the internal plumbing of your dwelling. This is to ensure the protection of the public water supply (through backflow prevention) as well as the quality of water supplied by the tank.

Getting non-potable water from a water tank

However, there are a lot of water uses that don’t require potable water. Non-potable water isn’t consumed and doesn’t come into contact with food, so it doesn’t need to be treated in the way drinking water is.

Non-potable water can be collected in your water tank and used for:

  • washing the car
  • rinsing the boat
  • watering the garden
  • flushing the toilet
  • washing sports equipment, bikes, surfboards, soccer boots, etc
  • water blasting the deck
  • hosing down the garden or roof on fireworks night

When you think about it, we use water a lot at the home or bach – and often it doesn’t need to be treated. Rainwater or tank water would be fine – and it’s free! 

The Regency Plumbing range of water tanks

Residential water tanks can be made from plastic, concrete or metal. If you’re having a new one supplied and installed by Regency Plumbing, you’ll likely purchase a plastic one. Whatever the size or shape of your section, we can source a make and model that will suit.

Slim-line tanks can fit along the side of your house, fence, or garage. Bladder tanks are designed to fit under floors and decks, making use of previously unused space.

We have some great package deals on tanks, ranging in size from 1,000 to 25,000 litres – and all fitted with a pump.

There is a small upfront investment, but the ongoing benefits of having your own water tank and water supply are worth it. You’ll save money on your water use, and you’ll enjoy the convenience of having your own supply for whatever you like.

So, get in touch with Regency Plumbing and have your water tank installed.

Call… 0800 PLUMBER / 0800 758 623

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