Page 6204 - Week 14 - Thursday, 9 December 2010

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(b) social & (c) economic benefits

The following information from the National Water Commission Rainwater Tanks and Storm Water Fact Sheet summarises the benefits of installing a rainwater tank.

“Rainwater tanks have a long history of use in Australia, especially in many rural areas which often depend upon them for household water. In recent years, there has been an upsurge in rainwater tank installations in towns and cities. There are several reasons for this: water restrictions, state or local government policies (including rebate schemes), and home owners’ personal choice.

The National Water Commission has published a study that helps people evaluate the cost effectiveness of rainwater tanks for households in urban Australia. Findings showed that the costs and reliability of tanks for households vary dramatically depending on the location and individual household circumstances.

Issues to consider:

The yield from a rainwater tank depends on various household factors
— for example, the size of the roof collection area, the tank capacity, the local rainfall situation, and the amount of tank water used around the home.

Water from rainwater tanks can be used for outdoor garden use and/or in the home, and the decision on how it is going to be used will influence the tank’s yield and costs.

Installing a rainwater tank may cost a ‘typical’ property owner between $500 and $4000 over the lifetime of the tank, depending upon individual circumstances.

The cost of installing rainwater tanks reduces the costs associated with repairing and replacing the existing stormwater system, and reduces the amount of pollutants entering urban rivers and streams.

Rainwater tanks can also help reduce annual water bills and can be used to offset the effects of water restrictions.

In areas of poor quality water, rainwater can improve the taste of drinking water.

There is also the broader community benefit of promoting conservation and water-wise behaviour at the household level.

Whilst rainwater tanks offer a supplementary water supply option for a growing number of households around Australia, larger-scale stormwater harvesting and reuse can supplement the normal water supply for urban communities.”

(Question No 1233)

Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, upon notice, on 18 November 2010:

(1) What (a) water saving measures and (b) reductions in water usage have been introduced across the ACT Government since the department was established.

(2) What are the ‘various options’ that the department refers to at page 10 of its 2009-10 annual report and that the department will pursue to reduce our reliance on rainfall.

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