Challenges of installing and maintaining 200-litre emergency rainwater tanks in the Wellington region

(Inc. GST)
(Ex. GST)
Write a Review

Beban, J.G.; Stewart, C.; Kim, N.; Cousins, W.J.; Leonard, G.S.; Wright, K.C.; Johnston, D.M. 2015 Challenges of installing and maintaining 200-litre emergency rainwater tanks in the Wellington region. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2015/21 iii, 37 p.

Abstract: In July 2013, the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) partnered with a provider of water tanks to make 200-litre emergency rainwater tanks available at various council locations throughout the Wellington region. These tanks can be connected to downpipes and are designed to assist households with their emergency water needs, particularly following a disaster like a large local earthquake. While the rainwater tanks are being promoted as a viable emergency water supply, very little research exists in the Wellington context which explores the effectiveness and practicality of these systems. This report explores the challenges associated with the installation of these tanks and the associated maintenance issues that arose, based on issues encountered with installation and maintenance of six rainwater tanks at properties in Wellington and Lower Hutt. The results identified a number of challenges associated with the installation of the tanks and their on-going maintenance, which can be broadly categorised as follows: • Challenges associated with the property size and layout; • Challenges associated with the design of the downpipes that the tanks are being connected to; • The skill level of the installer; and • Features of the tank design (for example the taps and issues associated with diverter leaking). Generally, the majority of the challenges identified are not insurmountable. The greatest challenge identified related to property size. Properties that have space limitations are unlikely to be able to accommodate a rainwater tank. Thus, uptake of the rainwater tanks is likely to be greater among suburban property owners (where average section sizes are larger) than inner city property owners. The main outstanding matter identified in this study is the adequacy of the retaining straps in preventing the rainwater tanks from toppling during a large earthquake. Further research on this issue is planned. (auth)