Rainwater tanks

Selecting a rainwater tank

There are many types of rainwater tanks to choose from:

  • traditional stand-alone tanks can be installed anywhere on your property
  • modular tanks are designed to be installed against the house to save space.

Contact your local council for guidance about rainwater tank selection and suppliers in your area.


Rainwater tanks are usually low maintenance but some maintenance is needed to make sure you are collecting good, clean rainwater.

The SA Health website has good advice about how to maintain your rainwater tank effectively.

Rainwater testing

Domestic tanks

You do not need to do regular chemical or microbiological testing of domestic rainwater tanks.

See the domestic rainwater quality testing fact sheet from the Department of Health to find out about the types of testing that can be done and help you decide if this is necessary for your rainwater tank.

Commercial or community tanks

Regular chemical and microbiological testing should be carried out on commercial and community rainwater tanks.

Rainwater used as water supplies for commercial or community-based purposes requires routine testing to make sure the water is suitable for drinking.

The commercial or community-based rainwater quality testing fact sheet from the Department of Health website will help you understand the types of testing required and who to contact.

Building rules

South Australian building rules require that new dwellings and some extensions or alterations, have an additional water supply to supplement mains water.

The most common way to meet the additional water supply requirement is to install plumbed minimum-sized rainwater tanks - other options include:

  • a recycled water scheme
  • connection to a community rainwater storage tank.

The additional water supply must be installed before a house or extension is occupied.

Building rules consent

Applications lodged for building rules consent for new houses, extensions and alterations must detail how water saving requirements are being met.

If rainwater tanks are being used, applications must include:

  • the size of the tank
  • location
  • area of the catchment
  • plumbing details for installation.

Tank size

The rainwater tank should have a storage capacity not less than one kilolitre. This is additional to any other water storage tanks that might be required - eg tanks for bushfire fighting purposes.

Plumbing and installation

The additional water supply must be plumbed to a toilet, a water heater or to all cold water outlets in the laundry of the home. The same rules apply to new extensions or alterations where the extension or alteration is greater than 50 square metres and includes a toilet, water heater or laundry cold water outlet.

To assist water quality, every rainwater tank must be fitted with:

  • an overflow device
  • a mosquito proof, non-degradable screen.

A licensed plumber must:

  • install the piping system to deliver the rainwater to the water closet, water heater or cold water laundry outlets
  • complete a certificate of compliance.

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    Page last updated 26 September 2017

    Provided by:
    Department for Environment and Water
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