It was a warm day in early November when I drove out to one of Melbourne’s North Eastern suburbs to meet Carol and her partner, Peter. Carol is a budding artist, while Peter is a musical genius on the piano, but the reason I was there can be found in their garden. Carol and Peter had kindly offered to show me their rainwater tanks.
They have three rainwater tanks on the property totalling over 10,000 litres!
The first tank I saw collects water from the roof of the car port. It has been connected up to a small irrigation solar pump which pushes the water down a small hose to a colourful array of flower pots. At some point Peter would like to put in wicking beds – as any good gardener knows, there is always something new to work on and another plan for improvement.
The other two tanks are connected to each other. They are used not only for garden irrigation but also plumbed indoors for use in the toilet and washing machine. Carol and Peter have an old top loader washing machine and didn’t want to upgrade unnecessarily, so using rainwater allowed them to continue washing the clothes in a water wise manner.
The irrigation system is smart, detecting if there has been rain so that the sprinklers don’t turn on unnecessarily.
Carol also has an outdoor sink which is ideal for watering some of the pot plants but most of all, as a place she can clean the paint brushes after a busy day of creativity.
The larger 7,000 litre tank is right down the back of the property, and is connected to an Onga WaterSwitch, which automatically switches back to potable water should the tanks run dry.
There is also a 2,500 litre tank down the side of the house which is connected as part of this system.
Each tank has a gauge to show how much water is available.
Peter said it was easy to get the rebate as their installer, PJT Green Plumbing took care of all the rebate applications for them.
However, the incentive for installing the tanks was not financial for Peter and Carol. They installed the tanks because they didn’t want to see the water go to waste, and this was likely to be the last home they will purchase so they’re taking a longer view.
The current rebates on offer in Victoria are available through until June 30, 2015, so now is the time to install a tank before the rebates dry up. There are a range of rebates available including tank rebates for small businesses and homes that their building permits as recently as 2011. For more information on rebates in Victoria visit the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.
What could you use rainwater for on your property?