Rainwater tanks & rebate scheme
Council approval may be required
Council encourages residents to install a rainwater tank, along with water efficient plumbing fittings, because they offer a solution to the sustainable management of Sydney's water supply.
Installation of an above ground or below ground rainwater tank does not require consent from Council if it meets the development standards in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (see Part 1, clauses 2.63 to 2.66).
If your rainwater tank does not meet the relevant clauses, you will need to follow the normal DA process by submitting a Development Application and applying for a Construction Certificate.
Why install a rainwater tank?
The average Australian household uses between 30 and 40% of their water consumption outdoors. This is for activities like watering the garden, topping up swimming pools and washing the car. When we use mains water or town water for these outdoor activities, we are using drinking quality water. By installing a rainwater tank, you can use harvested rainwater outdoors instead. This is using water 'fit for purpose.' Rainwater is suitable for activities like washing the car and watering the garden.
By getting a licensed plumber to connect your rainwater tank up to your laundry or to flush your toilet(s), you are also using water 'fit for purpose'. This saves precious drinking water.
Harvesting rainwater in a tank also reduces stormwater runoff from your property. By reducing stormwater runoff, we can reduce the amount of litter and sediment washed into our natural waterways from our streets after rainfall. This will help improve the health of our creeks and rivers like the Cooks River, Wolli Creek and Salt Pan Creek.
For more information about rainwater tanks and other water-wise options, visit www.sydneywater.com.au.
Tank installation and connection
Rainwater tank connections to the toilet or washing machine must be undertaken by a licensed plumber and meet requirements under the NSW Code of Practice for Plumbing and Drainage.
The licensed plumber will need to sign your rebate application form to confirm that the tank has been professionally connected and complies with the regulations.
The NSW Department of Health does not recommend drinking rainwater where a reticulated water supply is available. More information is available from the NSW Health Rainwater Tank brochure.
Rebates and funding
The Federal and NSW Government have offered rebates for installing rainwater tanks to eligible residents in the past. For up to date information about rebates for a range of environment-friendly products, please check the Federak Government's Living Greener website.