Rainwater tanks an asset in drought

Misconceptions about the performance of Rainwater Tanks in drought

A commonly held assumption in Australia is that rainwater tanks don’t provide significant water savings during drought, however, research has showed that yields from rainwater tanks are more resilient to droughts and climate change, than runoff into dams supplying communities with water.

In a study published by Coombes and Barry, (2008) drought was defined as a period where runoff into dams reached critically low levels. These defined periods of drought produce very high reductions in runoff into dams ranging from 41% to 69%. Interestingly, the reduction in yields from rainwater tanks ranged from a much lower 0% to 20%.

This result highlights the potential for rainwater tanks to provide a reliable water supply to help supplement water collected via dams and other sources during droughts. It was also noted that it was important that rainwater tanks also supply water during wetter periods, thereby reducing water demands from other sources during more plentiful years, allowing greater carryover storage of water in dams for use in droughts. This has the potential to improve overall reliability and to help drought proof your water supply.

Heritage Water Tanks understands how important water security is for our customers and the importance of efficient rainwater harvesting and storage of water. In the same year that this research was conducted, Heritage Water Tanks developed a revolutionary patented water collecting Gutter System. This innovative system enables our customers to collect additional water each year from their rainwater tank roof.


Heritage Water Tanks installed with water collecting Gutter System in the Purnululu National Park in the remote Bugle Bungle region of NW WA

Heritage Water Tanks Gutter System

After 10 years in the marketplace, the Heritage Water Tanks Gutter System is now recognised by the Smart Approved WaterMark Program and the WA Water Corporation’s Waterwise Products Program.

The Smart Approved WaterMark Program is an international water efficiency scheme that certifies products and services that save water and the Waterwise Products program helps to showcase water saving products in Western Australia.

Over the 10 years that the Heritage Water Tanks Gutter System has been in the marketplace, our customer’s combined capacity to collect water has increased to over 76,225,000 litres of additional rainwater each year. This is equivalent to over 30 Olympic swimming pools of water.

This innovative system has provided customers with the capability to individually harvest an additional 25,000l per year of rainwater for each tank installed. (Based on a 110,000l rainwater tank in a 500mm annual rainfall zone.) In high rainfall zones and for larger tank sizes, the amount harvested can be significantly higher.

If you are prone to running out of water each year, the alternative is to buy this volume of water commercially, at a potential cost in excess of $1000 per year. This avoided expenditure more than covers the one-off cost of purchasing the Gutter System in its first year.

In order to achieve recognition, the Gutter System product was scrutinised by an independent Technical Expert Panel against the following criteria:
1. Water Saving
2. Fit for Purpose
3. Compliance with Regulations and Standards
4. Environmentally Sustainable

The Smart WaterMark Program is the outdoor sister scheme to the well known Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme (WELS) for plumbing fittings and our Gutter System now stands side by side with other respected water saving products, such as the Hunter MP Rotator and RainBird Irrigation Controllers.

The circular tank gutter system can be optionally fitted onto your Heritage Water Tank when your new tank is installed. The gutter can also be fitted to all existing steel tanks with a profiled roof and can be done easily D.I.Y., or by a plumber or tank installer.

Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly in relation to the use of the Gutter System in situations where there is limited roof catchment area available for water harvesting. The Gutter System has increased the capacity of numerous customers, enabling them to harvest additional water for their homes, water for stock, fire storage water, spray water on farms and in Commercial operations.

Samantha and Brett Harnett from Roelands in South West WA had a Gutter System fitted when their 127,000L rainwater tank was installed way back in 2009 and it’s still going strong, with minimal maintenance. Samantha said, “We’ve definitely collected more water with the Gutter System installed, which is great as we never run out and have confidence that we would still have a good amount of water available in the event that we had to face a bushfire.”

If you are interested in finding out more about how the Gutter System works, please give our friendly Sales Team a call on our free-call number 1800 115 552 and they will discuss whether a Gutter System would be suitable for your situation. You can also find out how much extra water you could potentially harvest each year, using the simple online calculator on our website:

Information sourced from Technical Paper, ‘The relative efficiency of water supply catchments and rainwater tanks in cities subject to variable climate and the potential for climate change’ (Coombes and Barry, 2008).

The WA Government has recently announced that it will be delivering $4.62 million in rebates for drought-hit livestock farmers to put in new water infrastructure.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the rebate helps WA’s drought-hit farmers to put in new water infrastructure that improves drought resilience. Under the scheme eligible WA farmers can claim up to a quarter the cost of buying and installing new on-farm infrastructure. The rebate will help farmers be more productive by installing new water infrastructure, while improving drought resilience and addressing livestock welfare needs.

The rebate can be used for putting in new pipes, water tanks, pumps, distilling dams, and power plants that drive the new water equipment. A 25 per cent rebate of up to $25,000 can be claimed on eligible water projects to enhance drought resilience for farmers. The Western Australian rebates are part of the $50 million On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme. The program will be delivered through the WA Department of Agriculture and Food. For more information visit

If you or anyone you know is experiencing hardship due to drought in rural NSW or Victoria, please visit the links below for more information about what may be available in your area:

NSW – Drought Relief and Assistance Programs are available at:

Victoria: For more information please see the On-Farm Infrastructure  Support Grants Progam Guidelines, or visit the Rural Finance website.

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