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Rainwater Harvesting News…and other stories

Water tank maintenance key to reduce Dengue mosquito risk

A report by the ABC (May 2019) titled “Dengue fever outbreak risk for Brisbane residents from unsealed water tanks” poses a number of concerns regarding the potential for a recurrence of Dengue Fever in Brisbane.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito – the breed which carries the Dengue virus – is generally found in the tropics and cannot survive in cooler climates. But with climate change resulting in increased temperatures and milder Brisbane winters, the concern is that we can no longer take this for granted.

The report indicates that the mosquito may survive the Brisbane winter if able to breed in a large protected water source – such as an unsealed rain water tank.

It goes on to reinforce that the best way to reduce this risk is for all rainwater tank owners to ensure that they are diligent with rain water tank maintenace. The way to keep mosquitoes from breeding in your rain water tank is to ensure catchments are kept clear and the tank is securely screened from both the inlet and outlets.

Another important area to consider is the draining of first flush diverters to ensure stagnant water is not pooling and providing a breeding habitat for mosquitoes.

Check out our rainwater tank maintenance advice and call us if you need water tank repairs or for us to come out and provide a complete rain water tank health check. There is no need to sacrifice your rainwater harvest. Water tank maintenance is the key to reducing the Dengue mosquito risk.

The Art of Rainwater

This stunning art installation by Seattle-based artist John Grade in an Italian forest is truly a celebration of the beauty of rainwater. The rainwater is captured in vessels cast from human hands cupped together. The installation is dynamic: rising and falling with the rainwater harvest and water evaporation. See the full story and more beautiful images of this astonishing example of Rainwater Art as featured on the contemporary arts website Colossal.

Davey Evolution in-tank pump system AKA EVO MKII

Some years back now, Davey Water Products teamed up with Tankworks Australia (now Kingspan Water) to develop the EVO Mark Two pump system for rainwater tanks.  The EVO MKII is a compact solution that includes filtration chambers and a submersible pump connected via standpipe to the Rainbank water switch.  This system replaced the EVO MKI – also an in-tank system – from Whites International, comprising of a Rainsaver hydraulic town/tank water switching device, coupled with a DAB Divertron submersible pump.

Professionally installed rainwater systems are low maintenance; but not NO maintenance.

Common maintenance issues or problems you may find with the EVO rainwater pumping systems include

  • blocked filter
  • pulsing water (water hammer) when switched to town water supply
  • town water supply lock out
  • electrical dead short which will cause your Safety Switch to trip your power board.

Having worked for Tankworks for a number of years, and maintaining a close working relationship ever since, Jim Steel of Water Tactics has extensive experience with the EVO systems.  Water Tactics offers EVO water system servicing,  trouble-shooting, spare parts, replacement filters and specialised testing equipment.

We can provide a full assessment of your EVO MK I or MK II system and offer maintenance, repair and replacement services.  Ask Jim about a range of of alternative solutions for your rainwater capture, storage and water pumping requirements.

Global Water Security and Brisbane’s rainwater revival

How do you solve one of the most important and complex problems facing humanity: Global Water Security? At MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), they challenge a team of fresh, young minds to work together across a range of disciplines. On the Mission 2017 website, you will find a thorough but accessible summary of the major issues, proposed solutions and an overall sense of hope!

You will also find reference to the role rainwater harvesting must play in the solution to water security in all countries. Given the scope of the undertaking, I must admit to being surprised (and even a little bit proud) that Brisbane, Australia is noted in regard to the role of public education and awareness campaigns in the role of water conservation by reducing consumption.
Global water security
In the ‘Implementation’ section regarding ‘Domestic Conservation Education’, it is noted: …”Considering Brisbane, Australia as an example, when facing a drought, the government implemented various conservation measures. Bans on lawn watering, shortened showers, and public awareness campaigns nearly halved water consumption…”
Other recent analysis suggests that some of the lessons learnt here in Brisbane during the severe drought peaking around 2007 are, in fact, still largely adhered to. It still seems surreal to think that South-East Queensland came dangerously close to running out of water: something hitherto regarded as almost impossible in a sub-tropical climate.

As well as establishing bans on external mains water use during the height of the drought, local and State Governments offered financial rebates for installing rainwater tanks. A far cry from the days of issuing bans against the use of rainwater tanks, which occurred in Brisbane around the 1960s. It seems now that the combined effect of reduced mains water consumption and the availability of independent rainwater supplies is once again causing ‘concern’ for governments; this time in the form of reduced water consumption revenue!

These days we don’t tend to hear words of encouragement to install a rainwater tank to decentralise supply, nor encouragement to use rainwater as a substitute for filtered, processed and piped potable water when it is perfectly suited to purpose. Why should we be using our expensive, treated water on the garden, to wash the car, clean the windows, or hose down the driveway?

Especially here in the land of “drought and flooding rains”, we should be heeding the lessons of the past. After reading the findings from Mission 2017 and the proposed strategies for achieving global water security, you may have cause to question our collective priorities and attitudes to sustainable living and local water security.

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