Rainwater tanks

This page has information on managing rainwater tanks for private water supplies.

You don't need approval from the Department of Health to install or use a rainwater tank. 

Rainwater tank construction

A properly constructed and well-maintained rainwater tank can provide a good supply of potable (safe and drinkable) water, particularly in cases where reticulated water supply is poor quality or production bores are of low yield.

You need to consider all of the following when planning to install a rainwater tank:

  • viability of water harvesting in relation to tank volumes, roof size and average annual rainfall
  • need for the installation of first flush devices to prevent contaminants being washed into the storage on the first rain
  • provision of insect screening to stop mosquito breeding, including the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti, which occurred in Tennant Creek and is a container breeder suited to rainwater tanks
  • ongoing repairs and maintenance program for the life of the system.

Safe and drinkable rainwater

The Department of Health uses the enHealth guidance on use of rainwater tanks (2010) as the main reference for issues associated with the collection of rainwater for potable purposes.

Fore more information go to guidance on use of rainwater tanks page at the Australian Government's Department of Health website.

There are risks associated with the provision of safe potable water from rainwater tanks, particularly with respect to microbiological quality. 

The very young, the very old and the immuno-compromised, such as diabetics and cancer patients, should disinfect rainwater from tanks before use for drinking or cooking purposes.

For more information get the disinfection of water tanks fact sheet (53.7 kb) and read about private water supply management

Contact Environmental Health for more information.

Last updated: 05 February 2019


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