Is Rainwater Tank Worth It?

House I bought has a rainwater tank at the backyard.
I don't use much of it just occasionally for watering plants and it's currently not connected to my main water.
I am considering removing it for more backyard space.

Is it worth having it to reduce the cost of water bill if I connect it to my main water for toilet, washing machine or shower?
After some research feels like the cost of hiring plumber to get all that working plus the maintenance fee regularly is not really worth it?

cheers

Comments

  • +6 votes

    I'd keep it. Cost of water is only going up.

  • +2 votes

    Financially it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Water is very cheap (albeit on the way up). Plumbing is not cheap, and you’d probably need an electric pump to get it to work.

    Years ago I looked at getting a water tank and plumbing to the loos when they had green loans going. Wasn’t worth it, except to be more environmentally friendly.

    •  

      "Water is very cheap…"

      That depends on where you live.
      We live on the Gold Coast ( in an over-50's 'resort'), and the price is $8.60/kl

      That includes the cost of the council-supplied mains water, plus 80% loading for 'waste' water.

      A definite rip-off!
      I have never had to pay TWICE for the same water, anywhere, before this.

      Keep the tank, electricity is cheaper than water (water works out at 30x dearer than leccy)

      •  

        Yes it does cost, but do some calculations on how long it would take to pay back installing a tank, plumbing it in and flushing a loo a few times a day. I don’t know how much to flush a loo, but assuming 10L ten times a day is 100L per day. It takes at least 3 months to return $8.60 of your investment. If you’ve spent $1k on your tank setup that’s a long payback, and then you’ll most likely need to pay electricity to pump it too.

        Even expensive water is cheap!

        •  

          One important bit that you missed is that OP has the water tank installed.

          •  

            @pig: Plumbers still cost a lot! At rates estimated above the loo will cost about $30/year to fill. Add in other usage and it starts to become more cost effective.

            It’s not a sound financial decision unless you can forgo your town water connection competent and get rid of the service charge as well.

        •  

          isn't KL means 1000L, so 100L per day means 10days? isn't it?

      •  

        That includes the cost of the council-supplied mains water, plus 80% loading for 'waste' water

        You know waste water/sewage has to go somewhere and get treated right?

        Generally costs more to run a waste water network and treatment system than it does forms clear water network.
        So waters cheap….treating the stuff you send back down your pipes generally isn't.

  • +4 votes

    I wouldn’t bother connecting it to plumbing. I have one and it’s handy for when there are water restrictions or I want to water the grass. Personally I think they should be mandated for unit/townhouse developments to reduce water flow to stormwater drain from the roof.

  • +1 vote

    Is it a rain water tank, or is a storm water buffer tank? Where I live, every house has to have a rain water buffer tank. It stores about 1/3rd rain water and has a small over flow in the side of the tank. When it rains, it only releases water at the rate of the reduced outlet in the side. The tank will fill up and release back down to the 1/3rd lever over a few days to stop every house in the street inundating the storm water system.

    So, check the function of the tank first before you just go removing it. Or, amybe like mine, were it was in an annoying part of the yard, I just moved it and put it in another part of the yard out of the way.

  • +2 votes

    I love rainwater so in my opinion it's worth it. Depends what you value your rainwater as.

    •  

      Why do you love it ??

      •  

        Tastes better than mains water

        • +4 votes

          It's the hint of bird shart that does the trick.

          •  

            @GangGang: Not always.

            Sometimes it has that unusual flavor AND smell of bats depositions.
            Nutrition plus!
            Toxic but nutritious.

      • +2 votes

        Plants and lawn grow way better with rainwater rather than mains water.

      •  

        Yes it's because it tastes good plus the added bonus that I know it's pure clean water (no additives).

        Obviously the water quality would depend on how clean your roof is and how much air pollution is in your area. Regardless it's a good idea to install a filter on the ins and outs, it's cheap to do and ensures no nasties gets in your drinking water.

        From an environmental perspective obviously running rainwater tanks to save some of the town water is beneficial in some places.

        If just using it for washing, toilets and watering garden then keeping the water quality good is obviously not important.

  • +5 votes

    It is worth it.

    Anything that reduces your reliance on external factors is a good thing.

    Harvesting you water? That's a good thing.

    (How big is the tank? If it is a decent size, I will come take it off your hands.)

    •  

      Fair point, just trying to decide having a bigger yard space or be self reliance

      • +3 votes

        Well what will you use the yard space for?

        Planting more trees/veges?

        Well then you'll need water for that…

        •  

          wanna use that wall water tank currently sitting next to for cloth hanger or a basketball rim space

          •  

            @mingjuitsai: If your backyard isn't big enough to house both a rain water tank and a basketball rim space, then I dare say it probably isn't big enough for a Basketball rim! You need heaps of space to set that up properly.

  •  

    There are several factors to consider:
    Your present water usage from the mains, eg if you are in the highest cost per litre, in Vic you are paying about $4.50/1000lt
    How much do you use to water the plants?
    How much would you use for grey water purposes like the toilet?
    Do your numbers and the outcome will answer your questions.

    •  

      Thanks will look into that

  •  

    It's worth it but only under select circumstances. Sounds like your not really using it, so you're better off selling it and simplifying your life.

  • +1 vote

    We have the tank plumbed to the toilets and washing machine in our house. I turned it off after a while, and use mains water instead. Rainwater is too dirty for anything except watering plants, unless it is properly filtered and disinfected.

    •  

      I guess the cost to have it filtered and disinfected properly is another ongoing maintenance

      • +1 vote

        Nope. We have the raw water pumped to our kitchen and laundry. All our drunk water is the raw rain water. Delicious, bird poo and all.

        • +1 vote

          This is fine for rural areas but a very bad idea for many cities.

          •  

            @Presence: Why is it fine for rural areas but very bad for many cities?

            (I live in a rural area. It feels like you're saying that rural people don't need high-quality water, whereas city people do. I hope that you are not saying that.)

            • +7 votes

              @Kandrew: They’re clearly suggesting that rain water is higher quality in rural areas due to reduced pollutants.

              • +1 vote

                @mapax: I considered that that's what was meant, but I don't know. That's why I asked.

                I'd rather have clarification than just make assumptions.

            • +1 vote

              @Kandrew: Lol because of pollution. Notice how dirty your car gets if you park it outside for a few days? That thin layer of black dirt? You don't want to drink that! Mostly from vehicles and industry which is less of a problem in rural areas.

              • +1 vote

                @Presence: As I said, I live in a rural area.

                I don’t get your dirt. I get my kind of dirt.

                On the car. In the car. On the roof. In the house. Practically everywhere.

              • +1 vote

                @Presence: That's why the tank systems have diverters so that the first part of the rain can wash down the roof and be disposed of then clean water is allowed in to the tank.

        • +8 votes

          I get negged for saying we drink rain water, that comes from our roof, that birds poo on?

          Wow, you city folks are snowflakes.

          •  

            @oscargamer: Yep! Australians standard of hygiene just is too high that all sorts of allergies are common.

  • +3 votes

    If you can use the water without a pump, awesome!

    If you need to use a pump it may cost more in power to use tank water than just accessing the tap. Saving the environment isn't cheap.

    •  

      Solar panels could easily power the pump.

      •  

        That's another cost that needs to pay itself off though.

  •  

    Throw some chlorine in it and a pump and use it as a swimming pool ….

    •  

      Lol

    •  

      When I was about 8 or 9 years old, we did almost this. The only thing different was that there was no chlorine thrown in!

  •  

    Not worth it.

  •  

    Depends how much room it is taking up. We have a tank but we have an 800m2 block so in the scheme of things it doesn't take up a lot of space. Ours is only used for the garden, but if there were ever water restrictions then we could also use it to top up the pool.

  • +4 votes

    If you have any sort of garden or are planning to have one, keep it. When it doesn't rain for weeks it gets expensive using tap water to keep veggies and garden plants alive.

  • +1 vote

    I use my tanks to keep my lawn alive during summer, and also for washing my car.

  •  

    I would get a pump and spray the garden and plant veggies

  • +3 votes

    I’m in Adelaide Hills with high rainfall but subject to State water restrictions in drought. Have both mains and 20k litre tank plumbed into house. Use mains inside house for the toilet only and front garden. Use tank for rear garden. My quarterly water use charge is usually less than $15. I do pay for tank cleaning usually bi-annually and have filters from tank to house which need annual change. In summer I have no qualms about having sprinklers on as needed and my garden loves it. A pump won’t cost a lot to run if using only for watering garden. I’d definitely keep it for the benefit of keeping the garden thriving guilt/cost free.

  •  

    After some research, here's my thoughts on it:

    Rain water use:

    fact is you can use rain water for anything if proper system is installed. It's recommend to use water from main supply for drinking and cooking for health reasons. The absence of fluoride in rainwater should also be considered for children in the household. It is "possible" rain water can support 100% of your household use if proper system installed.

    How much water bill/money you save

    I think it depends on the percentage of your rain water usage for household use, your cost/time for running the system, ratio between water usage and size of rain water tank, if your state has drought, and how much your setup cost would be ( worth to note that gov has rain water rebate https://www.energy.gov.au/rebates/rainwater-tank-rebate )

    financially, it could make sense but it has to fix into your context.

    For example: In Victoria, $4.50/1000lt and if my water tank is 2000lt. Daily usage is 500lt. Run some math yearly water usage cost is $821.25 yearly. Let's say setup rainwater fee is $1500 after rebate, pump electricity fee is $50 yearly. and your rain water supply can cover 70% of your bill. You can see that first few years you're only making up to the money you've invested, but it will start to start saving your water bill after few years.

    However, there will be ongoing maintenance cost/time to keep it running. but imo in a long run, it's a decent investment that can save your bills and more environmental friendly.

    and for some, water cost is relatively cheap, so they might prefer to have more extra space for other purpose (to not have a rain water tank), spending less time on household maintenance.

    I find these pages to have the most practical informations about usage, types, and ongoing maintenance:
    https://www.yourhome.gov.au/water/rainwater
    https://www.melbournewater.com.au/building-and-works/stormwa...

  •  

    Why not… its free

  •  

    It might be worth it … if the rainwater tank is large enough.

    Water consumption around my area is about 500L per day per household.
    So a typical 2000L rainwater tank is about 4 days of water … purposely excluding drinking/cooking water as the vast majority of water use is showers, toilet flushing, laundry and cleaning, plants, etc etc.

    So having a plumber to connect a rainwater tank is cost effective if having many many more kiloliters of water available.

    "Fencing" your house with rainwater tanks is an alternative. Giving you a massive water storage area otherwise unused (~1m fence-buffer area).

    Some local wealthy seniors had underground water tanks installed under the footpath (Council approved and encouraged, user pays of course) capturing rain/street run-outs.

    Having +20,000L of rainwater storage will make the investment worthwhile.

  •  

    I live in the sunshine coast hinterlands. We don't have a water mains connected. So all our water comes from rainwater tanks. Never been an issue.

    We also don't have a connection to town sewerage. A bio septic takes care of that.

  •  

    tank attached to rear gutter using existing down pipe, sure $300-400 and break’ even over 10 years just watering your yard, But anything more seems like a waste.

  • +1 vote

    as indicated earlier in this chain, the tank may be a storm water detention tank and required by Council as part of a development consent. You should check if Council required it before pulling it out. Apart from that, it is good not to rely on mains water for garden use if you can.

  •  

    Financially, rain tanks are definitely not worth it, but are worth if from an envrionmentally friendly perspective, if that is important for you
    We have one, and use it to water the garden when it's got water in it.

    One of those big 2m tall tanks is 3000L, i believe.
    Sydney water (not sure about elsewhere) costs $2.11 per kL, so the ENTIRE tank contains $6.33 of water. Lets say it fills up full once a month average throughout the year. Thats $73 of savings per year, which is ok, but if you had to pay $2000 to put one in (dont know how much, just guessing), then you gotta wait 27 years to get return on your investment, not factoring in inflation.

    To keep an existing one obviously doesnt cost you anything, but for your particular case you'd have to weigh up how much additional yard space "costs" you.

    •  

      Thanks yep that makes sense. The time to break even is long