Tanks, but it's no tanks
By KAT MULLARD IF you're thinking of installing a rainwater tank, you'd better learn to be patient. The ongoing big dry out west, and the absence of autumn rains on the coast, have combined to create a rainwater tank drought. As well, the push to install tanks to comply with the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) has added to the cost of building a new home. While Sydneysiders are eligible for rebates on rainwater tanks, here on the Coffs Coast it is a different story. "Sydney has rebates, but they're not available in the rural areas, where you really need them," the owner of North Coast Power and Water, Ashley Graetz, said. Earlier in the year, the Local Government Association of NSW called on the NSW Government to extend the rainwater tank rebate across NSW and to fund the rebate from consolidated revenue. Mr Graetz said while he thought the rebate was a great idea, there was another problem that needed to be considered. "They really should have rebates in rural areas, but it will make the supply problem worse," he said. Supply is a big problem at the moment for some tank sizes. If you order a tank now, don't expect to get it until around October. A lot of people are coming in and expecting to get a tank next week, but that's simply not the case." Mr Graetz attributes the wait to a few different factors, including the introduction of BASIX, which sets targets to reduce the demand for drinking water and energy consumption. "Tanks are the way everyone is going at the moment. With the introduction of BASIX, demand has increased. When you build a new dwelling now, installing a rainwater tank helps to meet the BASIX requirements. You really struggle to met the requirements otherwise," he said.
People are also wanting to do the right thing these days, with regards to global warming, and a lot of people are worried about water restrictions." The Local Government and Shires Association of NSW is now pushing for an overhaul on rainwater tank policies, asking the State Government to consider enabling councils to introduce mandatory rainwater tank policies for new dwellings. "Rainwater tanks, and a statewide rebate program, are investments, not costs," President of the Shires Association of NSW, Cr Col Sullivan, said. "We should think of them as a sensible option to reduce town water consumption."