Rainwater Harvesting News…and other stories
Here in South-East Queensland, we have recently heard much of the role of rainwater tanks in bushfire zones; providing a water source to fight fire and protect properties while waiting for help. Many of those living in bushfire prone areas rely on rainwater as their only water source. Not only do they have the challenge of conserving water, but they also have the added concern of potential contamination of tank water due to the smoke and fallout debris from the fires.
The Queensland Government has produced information highlighting the risks; strategies to mitigate those risks and recommendations for re-establishing a safe water source after the bushfire risk has passed. That’s wher rainwater tank cleaning and water sanitisation are needed to restore the safety of the rainwater supply.
Ever thought about converting your swimming pool to a rain water tank? While the backyard swimming pool is an iconic part of life in Australia, there may come the time when pool use dwindles and the cost of operation, maintenance and repairs start to outweight the appeal. Just think how much fresh rain water you could capture if you converted the pool into a rainwater storage tank. Take a look at this article from Brisbane City Life for information on how to actually go about it and the experince of people who have succeeded in converting a swimming pool to a water tank.
The current Queensland drought is a reminder that history repeats and why rainwater tanks matter at all times and in all conditions.
Back in 2013 the Brisbane City Council determined it no longer mandatory to install rainwater tanks for new residential constructions and many other Queensland Councils followed that lead.
At the time, Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works stated that the mandatory installation of rainwater tanks and other energy conservation measures “… add an unnecessary cost to homeowners and place an unwanted drag on the construction industry.” Whether either the cost of construction was reduced or the construction industry significantly benefited from this action is difficult to measure. Even harder to measure, but perhaps more critical, is the effect this may have had on future-proofing water supplies in some of the areas now experiencing severe water restrictions.
What was not considered when that decision was taken, was the long-term benefit of water conservation by tank owners; how every raindrop captured and used helps conserve the mains water supply. Rainwater use ensures the catchment waters are conserved for longer into the next inevitable drought period.
To declare that uban rainwater use for non-plumbed purposes was not contributing significantly to water conservation (as the Brisbane Lord Mayor said at the time) was short-sighted. When rain is plentiful, abundant tap water is squandered on garden watering, car and house washing and other domestic purposes, where rainwater can do the job and conserve water in the dams.
This won’t be the last drought in Queensland, and our Governments need to rethink and acknowledge the role of rainwater tanks in broader public participation in responsible conservation of the precious resoure of water.
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.
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.