Water is a precious resource. It’s essential for life – and we have two big problems: not enough water and far too much water. In many parts of the world, water shortages are already a major problem, and as climate change causes progressively unpredictable weather conditions locally and across the globe flooding is also expected to intensify. Against this backdrop, water tanks are a particularly appealing, versatile, and effective way to store and reuse water. They’re a wise investment for homeowners, businesses and governments alike.
“Our cities are urban systems, the efficiency of rainwater harvesting has benefits across the urban system for water efficiency, rainwater harvesting, urban cooling and protecting the health of our waterways,” says Michael Smit, Technical and Sustainability Manager at Kingspan Water and Energy. “At the simplest level, capturing rain from the roof is nature friendly and requires far less energy and materials than pumping treated water up to 100 km across the city. And because a roof is a non-trafficable area there are few opportunities for contamination, meaning rainwater can replace many potable water uses.”
Capturing rainwater can significantly reduce a home or business’s water consumption, making tanks an important part of the urban water mix. In turn, this reduced demand for mains water lowers the need for new dams or desalination plants, protects remaining environmental flows in rivers and reduces infrastructure operating costs.
The vast majority of domestic usage is stormwater management, toilet flushing, irrigation/garden care and clothes washing – all uses that are easily supplied by a water tank. “Using highly treated chlorinated water to flush our toilets and water the garden is just incredibly inefficient,” says Michael. And he’s right.
And when it comes to a broader consideration of the environmental benefit of water preservation, water tanks once more deliver the goods. By capturing rainwater and storing it, water tanks can significantly reduce the stormwater runoff that enters our drains and catchments. Less stormwater means less volume and less pollutants being washed into our waterways, which ultimately means healthier and cleaner rivers and streams. Furthermore, this reduction in stormwater that tanks can reduce the prevalence of flash-flooding, particularly during smaller, frequent downpours.
“One in four houses in Australia now has a rainwater tank,” says Michael. “Modern designs and technologies can not only fit into unused spaces on the block but also manage water quality and report on how well the tank is operating and if it needs maintenance.” The addition of modern digital technology is heralding a new era in ease of use and efficiency, and is backed by advances in more essential technology such as pumps, leaf screens and gutters.
But if people really want a tank system that works for them, they need to ensure they get the basics right. “The most important factor in getting value from your tank is how much it is used,” says Michael. “Connecting rainwater to as many toilets, washing machines and garden uses is as important as tank size and roof area.” He notes there are general sizes that people can adhere to when formulating ideas for their tank. “Urban tanks should be 2,000-5,000 litres and connected to at least 150 sqm of roof area. For stormwater management, the size should be closer to 10,000 litres.” These sizes are rough guides, of course, and should be considered within a range of other factors – such as how many people are in the house, the prevailing climate, and how water-intensive the household tends to be.
Michael also notes that in addition to the sustainable and functional benefits of water tanks, there are aesthetic and financial ones too. “Residential rainwater tanks are often recognised by designers as a design feature with sleek lines and interesting colours,” he says. “And based on real estate analysis, they can add about $18,000 to the value of the house.”
With over 90 years’ experience in the manufacture and development of water tanks, Kingspan Water Tanks is recognised as a global market leader and trusted source of expert advice for rainwater harvesting, water storage, solutions across residential, commercial and rural applications. They offer a range of water tanks that can be customised to suit a broad range of spaces, applications, and requirements. Built to last, and backed with cutting-edge technology, Kingspan water tanks are an efficient and cost-effective way to use water and minimise mains water usage. Coupled with the vast expertise of the Kingspan Water Tanks team, they offer the complete package from consultation to delivery, to make sustainable water storage possible for properties across the country.
Industry professionals who would like to incorporate a water tank in their next project can use Kingspan’s 3D Water Tank Builder tool, which enables the user to design a bespoke, made-to-measure water tank. Alternatively, they can download Kingspan Water Tanks BIM files from the section of the website dedicated to architects and specifiers.