Rainwater Tanks in WA Help Keep Urban Development Effects Beneficial

As the population grows, demand for basic needs, e.g. food, housing, and water, continues to rise. Supply must accordingly keep up. In some instances, resources from different areas may be diverted to sustain the basic needs of a certain locality.

This is exactly what the north-eastern suburb of Ellenbrook faces right now. Years of unprecedented growth have made the local water supply all but inadequate. Around 11,000 households are being supplied by a reticulated water system designed to serve less than a tenth of that figure. As of this writing, however, the Water Corporation is laying down expansion plans to improve water distribution.

The expansion will add 160 million litres of water storage and upgrade hydraulic systems. It will also require the conversion of 16.5 hectares of land, which includes adjacent wetlands.

Originally a farming settlement, Ellenbrook shifted to residential development in the early 1990s as an effect of Perth’s urban sprawl. The local population doubles every five years, and experts see no reason for the trend to stop anytime soon. Expansion, however, may be limited due to its proximity to the Gnangara-Moore River State Forest, which is among many forests under the state’s protection.

Overall, there is a clear need to expand water services and also consider the environmental implications. Among other things, WA cannot afford to lose any more trees to urban development. The reduction in groundwater supplies alone, which is the primary source of potable water in Perth, has made trees more vulnerable to infestations and climate change.

For these reasons, new and existing households would do well to host their own small-scale water infrastructure to ease the burden on the environment. For one, they can install rainwater tanks for WA homes that harness the precipitation made available by wet winters and occasional summer rains. A single tank can hold between 500 and 22,000 litres of rainwater, depending on the size and type of system a homeowner chooses.

To address space limitations, companies like Rainfill Tanks and Curved Roofing Supplies offer slimline water tanks in Perth, water storage systems designed to fit under the eaves of most roofs and squeeze into the smallest of lots. To ensure water quality, a food-grade polymer film lines the tank wall in compliance with AS2070-1999.

Any booming suburb in Perth, not just Ellenbrook, is expected to do its part in making sure population growth does not overburden Mother Nature. Solutions like rainwater tanks can be part of a broad plan that makes this goal achievable.

(Source: Ellenbrook at risk of running out of water, The West Australian, February 25, 2015)

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