Water Savings Tips

Water is one of our most precious resources and needs to be conserved. Water sensitive behaviour (using water wisely) from all of us will help sustain our natural environment and communities through times of drought, while building a community that is resilient to environmental shocks and stresses. Most of the water we are responsible for comes from the food we eat and the things we buy. All products, particularly food, have a significant (and sometimes hidden) water footprint. Energy generation and petroleum-based transport also use large amounts of water.

The biggest way to reduce your water use is by minimising your water footprint (less than 5% of our water footprint comes from normal household water use). For example, by switching to a vegan diet, you can save over 3,000 L of water per day.

Below are some of the best things you can do to reduce your water consumption, from most to least impactful:

  1. Choose plant based food over animal products (i.e. eat less meat, fewer dairy products and fewer eggs) and locally grown produce where possible
  2. Shop based on ‘needs’ not ‘wants’
  3. Share where possible
  4. Choose pre-loved or re-usable options where possible
  5. Minimise energy use and travel actively or on public transport
  6. Collect rainwater and greywater and use in the garden as well as for other non-potable uses
  7. Reduce water consumption at home and use water efficient appliances

Rainwater Tanks

Certain types of development require rainwater tanks to be installed to provide alternative water sources. Applicable developments are listed in section 2.1 of Part N of the Strathfield Council Consolidated DCP. The location of the rainwater tanks to be installed should be clearly indicated on plans and satisfy the requirements of Part A of the Strathfield Council Consolidated DCP.

Should owners of existing dwellings wish to install rainwater tanks within their properties development consent may be required. Some rainwater tanks may not need development consent. Please refer to Part A of the Strathfield Council Consolidated DCP for more information.

Installation of rainwater tanks on properties that are heritage items or contained in heritage conservation areas require Council approval. Please note that siting, size and locational requirements for rainwater tanks under State Environmental Planning Policy  (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, override the provisions of the Strathfield Local Environment Plan and Strathfield Council Consolidated DCP Part A.

Why install rainwater tanks?

  • Rainwater tanks reduce our reliance on drinking water. Lots of applications in the home don’t require drinking water quality standard
  • Reduces the amount of water that runs off your property into the stormwater system which reduces pollution of waterways and flooding
  • The collected rainwater can be used for watering gardens, washing cars, clothes and flushing toilets

Unfortunately NSW Health does not recommend drinking rainwater in the city

Do I need Council approval to install a rainwater tank?

  • No, if the tank and its installation complies with State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
  • Yes, if the tank and installation doesn’t meet these exemptions eg heritage item or located in heritage conservation areas

How do I meet these requirements?

  • Prefabricated tank designed to collect roofwater only
  • Installed in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements and structurally sound
  • Maximum capacity 10,000 litres
  • Not located in front yard
  • Fitted with first-flush device to reduce pollutants entering tank
  • Fitted with screened inlet to prevent entry of debris or mosquitoes.

For additional requirements refer to State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) .

Getting the most from a rainwater tank

  • Tank capacity – As a rule of thumb a minimum tank size of 5,000 litres is desirable
  • Use the rainwater on a regular basis so there is always storage capacity in the tank when it rains again eg connect to flush toilet, use in garden

Maintenance

  • It is important to maintain your rainwater tank
  • Rainwater tanks are low maintenance, not no maintenance
  • Regularly clean your gutters, first flush device, and inspect screens of leaves and other debris
  • Gutter guards can help