Rainwater Tank Rebate Scheme Policy Report

Attachment 1

Rainwater Tank Rebate Scheme Policy

















Last reviewed: 





The Objectives of this Policy are to provide information and guidance to property owners who are considering installing new rainwater tank/s (roof catchment only) and seek an installation rebate from Council.





This Policy applies to the whole shire for both new and existing residences following the purchase and installation of new rainwater tanks after 30 July 2008, for roof catchment only.

(NB: second hand tanks, stormwater catchment tanks, transportation and pressure pumps are not covered by this Policy).





State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) 2004 encourages sustainable residential development and requires certain criteria to be met for new residential development and includes Alterations and Additions and swimming pools associated with residential developments.


In many cases the installation of a rainwater tanks will be necessary to achieve the criteria for the issue of a BASIX Certificate. Where this is required there will be no Rebate available under the Nambucca Shire Rainwater Tank Rebate Scheme.


Building in Bush Fire Prone Areas - Guidelines 2006 relating to location, type and size of water storage tanks will need to be considered.


Nambucca Shire Council has in place an Exempt and Complying Development Control Plan (DCP 10), which covers the installation, including locations for rainwater tanks on individual properties. In many instances where the positioning of a rainwater tank complies with the stated requirements under the DCP approval will not be required from Council.


(NB: Inground water storage tanks require approval from Council)


Guidelines also exist for the use of water collected in rainwater tanks, these are:

·         Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – 2004

·         NSW Health Department “Private Water Supply Guidelines 2007”.





The terms used in this Policy shall be read in conjunction with the definitions contained within:

·         NSW Local Government Act 1993;

·         Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979;

·         Nambucca Local Environmental Plan 1995





Rainwater tanks are commonly used in the Nambucca Shire as a private water supply in areas where there is no public water supply available.

Rainwater tanks can also provide benefits in urban areas with reticulated public water supplies. While NSW Health recommends using the reticulated supply for potable purposes the tank water is entirely suitable for toilet flushing, laundry, car washing and garden watering purposes. Such dual supplies need to be carefully installed to ensure that water from the tank cannot backflow into the public supply and this means separate piping systems and backflow prevention valves.

Rainwater tanks can also act as a stormwater control device by providing some temporary storage of runoff from the roof. This tends to mimic, to some degree, the way natural environments behave in slowing down the rate of discharge of stormwater. This can reduce the adverse impacts of urbanisation on local streams and the landscape, and in many cases can reduce localised flooding.


Council supports and encourages the use of rainwater tanks by residents because:


·         They can help in the preservation of our environment by conserving the water resource.

·         They can help in the preservation of our environment by reducing the impact and severity of stormwater runoff flows from built-up areas.

·         They provide some additional security to consumers during periods when the reticulated supply may need to be interrupted for maintenance or repair.

·         There can be cost savings to both the consumer and Council resulting from a reduced demand by consumers for treated water.


Suggested Uses for Water from Rainwater Tanks


The suggested uses for rainwater include:


·         Toilet flushing

·         Cold water service to washing machine

·         Garden watering, car washing, swimming pool top up and all other external outdoor uses


In reticulated areas, Council does not recommend the use of water supplied from a rainwater tank for drinking or other potable purposes. The decision to use rainwater for drinking or other potable purposes is entirely at the residents’ and owners’ risk.


It should be noted that after a tank is installed it is vital that consumers continue to minimise water usage (particularly garden watering and other external uses).


If consumers fail to exercise the same vigilance and restraint and the tank simply becomes an extra source of supply, the potential environmental benefits are lost.


5.1     History


Nambucca Shire introduced a 4% across the board Environmental Levy in the 2003/04 and 2004/05 budgetary years. This generated just over $200,000 in 2003/04 with a rate pegging increase in the second year.


The extra funding enabled a number of environmental projects to proceed that had been held in abeyance for years due to a lack of funding. The last few years have seen an increase in the demand from the community and governments to improve and monitor water quality, undertake bushland regeneration, reduce water use, all of which add to the need for secure and dedicated funding.

For Council to continue the Environmental Levy after 2004/05 the Minister required Council to prepare a program for expenditure for five years 2005/06 to 2009/10. Within the five year program a “Rainwater Tank Subsidy” of $20,000 was identified for the three years 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10.


Council at its meetings of 18 January, 1 March and 6 September 2007, considered reports on the upgrade of the Macksville Works Depot. Part of the upgrade works included the purchase and installation of rainwater tanks to be used for road construction/maintenance purposes to reduce the amount of potable water used by water carts. As such the funds allocated for the current 2007/08 budget year were used for this water saving initiative as Council did not have a Policy in place for the Rebate/Subsidy scheme.


Therefore, $20,000 will become available on 1 July 2008 to enable the rebate scheme to commence.


In addition, the NSW Government has recently announced its own rebate scheme, which provides opportunities for landowners to seek a rebate from the Department of Environment and Climate Change as outlined below.


Tank(s) capacity litres


Department of Environment and Climate Change rebate


2,000 to 3,999


$ 150


4,000 to 6,999


$ 400


7,000 +


$ 500



The DECC scheme also provides opportunity for an increased rebate when a licensed plumber is engaged and connects the rainwater tank to a washing machine and/or toilet as outlined below:



State DECC

Connection to toilet(s)

State DECC

Connection to Washing machine(s)


$ 500

$ 500


As with this proposed Policy, the Government rebate is not available for tanks that are to be installed in order to comply with a BASIX certificate or tanks designed to capture storm water.


It is proposed that the rebate for Nambucca Shire be set at $150.


6.0       WHO IS ELIGIBLE?




1          The scheme is open to residential households in Nambucca Shire and is payable only to the registered owner of the property.


2          Rebate applications will only be considered for new tanks purchased and installed after 30 June 2008 and who have applied for and gained a rebate from the NSW State Government.


3          In the Shire’s reticulated (town) water areas, rainwater tanks should only be used for toilet flushing, cold water clothes washing, swimming pool top up and outdoor purposes and shall not be cross connected with the Council's reticulated water supply system.


4          For properties in the Shire’s reticulated (town) water areas, rebates can be claimed for rainwater tanks installed for either indoor or outdoor use with a minimum size of 2,000 litres.


5          For properties outside the Shire’s reticulated (town) water supply areas, rebates can be claimed for rainwater tanks installed for either indoor or outdoor residential use with a minimum size of 22,500 litres.


6          There is only one rainwater tank rebate claim payable per property over the lifetime of the scheme through Nambucca Shire Council.


7          Rebates apply only to new products and do not apply to used or second-hand products.


8          The total rebate received (from both the local and state governments) will not exceed the purchase price of the rainwater tank. Where this is the case, Council’s rebate will be reduced so the sum of the two rebates is not more than the purchase price of the tank.


9          Delivery charges are not eligible for rebates and will not be considered as part of any claim.


10        For connections to internal fixtures for properties in the Shire’s reticulated (town) water area, a Nambucca Shire Council, Section 68 Approval must be obtained. Internal connections are to be carried out by a licensed plumber to at least one toilet or the laundry cold water tap (for washing machine use). *


11        For rainwater tanks deemed Exempt Development, installation must comply with the provisions under Nambucca Shire Council’s Development Control Plan 10 - Exempt and Complying Development. Rainwater tanks that are not Exempt Development, a development application will be required and will need to comply with the Building Code of Australia and Nambucca Local Environmental Plan.


12        Rebates are not available to commercial home builders or land developers, however owner builders may apply for the rebate.


13        If the rainwater tank is a mandatory requirement for a newly constructed residential household, or required under the requirements of BASIX, a rebate will not be paid.


14        Rebate applications will only be considered once the tank is installed and operational and the rebate has been received from the State Government.


15        This offer is strictly limited. Once the designated number of rebates for the current financial year have been issued, there will be no more rebates in that year. The program MAY continue into the following financial year.


16        To claim a rebate the applicant will simply need to provide Council with a copy of the rebate received from the State Government.