Eco Building Supplies in partnership with Rain Harvesting Australia is working hard to keep South Australia’s mandatory Rainwater Tank scheme! Since 1 July 2006 new houses and house extensions greater than 50 square metres are required to have an additional water supply to supplement mains water. The additional water supply must be plumbed to a toilet, to a water heater or all cold water outlets in the laundry.
In the driest continent in the driest state of Australia, it is vitally important that we capture rainwater. The government has moth–balled the desalination plant, due to enormous operating costs. It is very confusing to us, why we pump water from the River Murray to then get filtered and put it through a cleansing process at the Happy Valley treatment plant. After that, we pump it to homes and use it to flush toilets!!!!!
By installing the minimum 1,000L rainwater tank, you will save at least 25,000L of water each year. These figures are based on the bare minimum of 50m2 of roof area connected to your rainwater tank. On the Adelaide Plains, we receive an average annual rainfall of 500ml. Times 500ml by 50m2, this gives you 25,000L each year. Around 8,000 new houses are built in metropolitan Adelaide every year. Since the mandatory rainwater tank came in effect in 2006, we have saved 24 billion litres of water from our reservoirs! Saving the SA Government money and most importantly protecting the River Murray and the environment.
It is very important that we harness the water and every home should have a tank connected to at least a toilet, washing machine or hot water service.
Another issue is urban infill. When it rains the soakage goes into the garden. But now we have an 800m square block with a house on it that is bulldozed and converted into 3 or 4 units. With all these hard surfaces there is no natural soakage. All the stormwater goes via the hard paved areas to a city stormwater system that was designed in the sixties. This causes flash-flooding. To prevent flash-flooding most of the metropolitan councils require a Retention Detention tank setup. The detention part of the tank will capture rainwater from the roof and slowly release it into the city stormwater system so it doesn’t get flooded.
The last issue is pollution. Stormwater runoff from urban environments is the major cause of sediment pollution (as well as other pollutants) into our coastal waters and a major factor in ongoing seagrass losses. The inclusion of rainwater Harvesting and other site-based stormwater controls are of critical importance to reduce pollutants reaching our creeks, rivers, coast and Adelaide beaches.
So far we have spoken with Renato Castello, we appeared on the ABC Radio with Sonya Feldhoff and we are in the process to discuss the matter with the Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs.
Watch this space for more updates as they develop!