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Rainwater storage tanks: how to select and install rain water tanks


A passionate lover of his native Australia, Peter loves to share with the world the wonders of this beautiful Country called Australia.

Rain Water Usages

If you have been following along with my other Hubs on collecting rainwater you will have discovered that the combination's of Shapes and Sizes of Rainwater storage Tanks is virtually infinite!

This Hub is to give a broad outline of selecting and installing a tank. (Please read the warning below).

The first thing you need to do is decide just what you are going to do with the water you collect?

Here are some possibilities of uses for the water, the list is by no means complete:

  • Complete House hold use
  • Laundry and toilet flushing
  • Showers and Bathing
  • Garden Watering

Size of Water Storage Tank required

Before you select your Water Storage Tank you need to calculate just how much water you need to collect for your needs. This exercise is just for getting enough water for the garden.

Now lets say your normal house water supply delivers water at approximately 20 psi which translates to about 2 gallons (10 liters) a minute (this all depends on the water supply, the condition of your pipes etc.), so if you water the garden for one hour you will be using 120 gallons (600litres) / hour. Maths is not my strong-point so if I am out in my calculations will some one let me know?

According to research this figure is close to what the average family uses per day in Australia and America!

Rain Water Tank - Poly round

Poly water storage tank 220 gallon or 1000 liters, constructed to fit in garden setting and look like old fashioned tank.

Poly water storage tank 220 gallon or 1000 liters, constructed to fit in garden setting and look like old fashioned tank.

Rain Water Tank - Poly

The installation I want to concentrate on here is for watering the Garden using a Poly (Plastic) Water Storage Tank as the other uses would very likely require the services of a Licensed Plumber.

Alright, based on the figures explained before the closest tank I can find for your to use is a 220 gallon (1000litre) tank. This tank is a round tank which measures about 3ft (900mm) in diameter and stands about 6feet (1.8metres) tall.

See the above image.This is a photo of our own tank that we have installed at our place.

The next decision is whether you want to gravity feed from the tank or purchase a pump to run sprinklers and a hand held hose from the tank.

If you do not want to run a pump and most people in this situation would not, then I would suggest that to gain some pressure you place the tank on a platform. Keep in mind that when the tank is full 220 gallons of water does weigh quite a bit so the platform would have to be substantial.

Next is to find a location for the tank . I would suggest close to a wall or tucked up the side of your house, somewhere close to the down-pipe of the guttering system around the roof of your house.

Rain Water Tank Gate Valve

Type of Gate Valve required for Rain Water Tank

Type of Gate Valve required for Rain Water Tank

Rain Water Tank Gate Valve - How they work

Gate Valve - a view of how they work!

Gate Valve - a view of how they work!

Supplies and Tools

There is not a lot you need to fit this tank and here is a list of items that you may use starting with the supply and then the tools:


1 x Poly (Plastic) Water storage tank to you selection

1 x First Flush device (optional) There are many different types available I would suggest to use the ball type it requires less maintenance in fact if you are a handy-person you can make them yourself.

1 x Length of pipe 4 inch to suit the size of your down pipe

1 x adapter for pipe

1 x faucet (tap) word of caution here I would suggest to go for what is termed a 'gate valve' as there may be some time between uses the valve in a normal tap or faucet may stick due to lack of use and low pressure.

1 x PVC Glue for pipes

Packing sand or concrete block / platform for underneath the tank.

Tools required:


half round file

tape measure


Hammer (don't know what you will need it for but every job needs a Hammer)

1 x Foreperson. (must be PC here) That said person will more than likely come in the form of a female :-)

Rain Water Tank typical installation

Water Storage Tank typical installation. note the return back to storm water outlet!

Water Storage Tank typical installation. note the return back to storm water outlet!

Plumbing the Tank

Now you have gathered all of your supplies and borrowed the tools from your neighbors we can start the installation.

Look around an find a nice place for the tank preferably close to the down pipe. Carry out the preparatory work on the substrate under the tank. i.e. packing sand, platform, concrete block etc. .

The down-pipe will have to be broken and I would suggest that a 'first flush' device be fitted to the down-pipe coming from the gutter. These 'first flush' device take up the first few gallons of water coming from the roof to remove all of the rubbish washed down from the roof, then feed the clean water into the tank.

From the outlet of the 'first flush' device there is a connecting pipe to the top of the tank.

From the outlet of the tank (the hole just down from the top) a pipe is run to the other end of the down-pipe. This is for when the tank fills up the overflow will go back down the storm water drainage system and not under your house.

An outlet tap can be fitted to the hole provided, which is about 18 inches above the bottom of the water storage tank!

Rain Water Tank - first flush system

It is advisable to fit some sort of first flush system

It is advisable to fit some sort of first flush system


If you intend to integrate the installation of water storage tanks with your Town water supply you should first check with your water authority. You may find that the work must be carried out by a Licensed Plumber.

Also some State authorities insist that any plumbing work at all carried out must be done by a Licensed plumber.


Peter (author) from Australia on January 14, 2011:

whitton thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

I hope that this article, although not fully covering the subject, in some way helps people to make a decision about how to select and install a water storage tank :-)

whitton on January 14, 2011:

Well done. This is a great how to article on how to select and install water rain tanks.

Peter (author) from Australia on December 24, 2010:

Well said Debby gravity comes to the aid of the party.

If you don't want the expense of buying a pump place your tank above ground level. The higher the tank the higher the pressure at the outlet!

More power to the people :-)

Debby Bruck on December 23, 2010:

Manpower rules the day.

Rainpower clears the air.

Place tank on high ground

The gravity of the situation

Is of prime importance!

Peter (author) from Australia on July 22, 2010:

Now you have got the idea :-)

Fresh water is also great for washing your hair. It would be ideal for the aquarium. I don't know about your mains water supply but ours has all sorts of chemicals added in the treatment process.

ThreeFootHat from Chicago on July 22, 2010:

Ooo! That's a neat idea! I wonder if I could use that water to water the plants or fill my aquarium? Hmmmm....Now I'm thinking about it again. LOL

Peter (author) from Australia on July 22, 2010:

ThreefootHat thanks for giving us another insight into the water problem. My imagination is running wild how you could collect water living in an apartment. If you have access to a window you could build something that fitted over the sill and harvested the rain and drained into a barrel. Thanks again for dropping by :-)

ThreeFootHat from Chicago on July 21, 2010:

I live in an apartment in a large city and have no need or place to put one of these. Even so, I have been busy trying to create one in my mind - how to build one and make it work and what I would use it for if I ever moved to a house in the country. And then I see this hub explaining exactly how to do it! My curiosity is now sated for the time being.

Good hub!

Peter (author) from Australia on May 24, 2010:

Thanks earn for the great comment. I must say that I am not totally convinced on the arguments put forward for not building new dams. I have a suspicion that a dam would do much less overall damage to the environment than a Sea Water Desalination Plant. Most dams I have seen actually give something back to the eco-systems that develop around them!

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on May 23, 2010:

Rainwater storage is a great way to save water and to avoid using clean drinking water in a dry continent.

The most appealing aspect of this type of water storage is that if enough people did it we could avoid the need to build more water storage dams. This would contribute enormously to the environment. Great hub ag!

Peter (author) from Australia on March 23, 2010:

prasetio30, you are welcome, thanks for dropping by and leaving a kind comment :-)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 23, 2010:

great information. thank for share with us.

Peter (author) from Australia on March 15, 2010:

hypnodude, thanks mate, nice to see you here and thanks for the kind words :-)

Peter (author) from Australia on March 15, 2010:

Candie V , Nope no clever ideas this end !

Andrew from Italy on March 14, 2010:

Very instructional hub, this is a great series, useful and very well explained. Both thumbs up.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on March 13, 2010:

AHem!!! (*clearing throat*) 1. Yes, 2. Not sure but curious, 3. Only in my dreams. I shall continue to follow in case you come up with a clever idea on how to make 2 and 3 happen!

(PS Mr. Smarty Pants.. you have a couple typos)

Peter (author) from Australia on March 13, 2010:

Candie V, am I reading your comment correctly .

You have been: various sizes and colors ... hmmm

a gate valve... hmmm I wonder how one becomes a 'gate valve' (rhetorical question only) A lic. plumber... I am impressed.

You are good I must say and very versatile in your work skills.

Thanks again for livening up the discussion :-)

Peter (author) from Australia on March 13, 2010:

Darlene Sabella, thanks for the visit and the thumbs up. There is something about drinking fresh water don't you think, no chemicals etc.

thanks again for the visit :-)

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on March 13, 2010:

I have been! Lemme see... various sizes and colors.. um.. gate valve.. um.. oh! Lic. plumbers! K.. am I good or what!

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on March 13, 2010:

Very cool, this is a great hub many folks should use this natural way to gather water. Thanks for sharing..thumbs up

Peter (author) from Australia on March 12, 2010:

carolina muscle, I'm glad that you and other people find information on Water Storage Tanks useful .

Thanks a lot for dropping by :-)

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on March 12, 2010:

This is a very useful hub!!

Peter (author) from Australia on March 12, 2010:

Amirkhail, thanks for dropping in and adding to the discussion. In Australia home renovation is a very large part of the economy, and many authorities are ruling that rainwater storage tanks are to be fitted whenever alterations are done :-)

Peter (author) from Australia on March 12, 2010:

Candie V , thanks for your kind words :-)

I hope you have been paying attention because I will be asking questions later on. lol

Peter (author) from Australia on March 12, 2010:

Oliversmum always a pleasure to see you visit my Hubs:-)

I'm a firm believer that if you have the right fittings and tools it makes whatever you are doing that much more enjoyable :-)

I am with you also that if more people fitted water storage tanks the savings on our natural resources would be immense and also save money in our own pockets.

Thanks so much for your kind comment:-)

Amirkhail on March 12, 2010:

hi, good show, quite handy info for all renovators

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on March 12, 2010:

Hey Ag! Great series on Water Storage Tanks!

oliversmum from australia on March 12, 2010:

Agvulpes. Hi. I have been following your series of Water Storage Tanks. With all this information it really does not sound too hard to install a water tank of what ever size or shape you choose, as long as you have the right fittings. Just think of the water we could all save. Brilliant. Thank you. :) :)

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