Rainwater Tanks

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Explore inspiring articles, discover events, connect with locals and learn more about Coffs Harbour City Council.

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Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater tanks have long been a source of domestic water in Australia. At one time they were a standard feature of suburban backyards, only to be phased out as urban water supply services expanded. Today, rainwater tanks continue to meet the household needs of many rural residential and farming communities.

Tanks are now also being reintroduced into urban areas to help protect the environment and reduce water bills.

Installing a Rainwater Tank in Coffs Harbour

There is a lot to consider when installing a rainwater tank. The colour of the tank is the least of the decisions you will have to make. To assist in the decision-making process, Council has compiled an Information Sheet:

Rainwater Tank Local Information Sheet

If you intend to have a rainwater tank installed in an urban area, you will need to:

1. ensure you comply to the Urban Rainwater Tank Policy; and 
2. submit a Rainwater Tank Installation Application for Urban Areas to Council at least 10 working days prior to commencement of work. 
Please Note: this form is only required if your property is in an area serviced by reticulated town water.

Depending on the type of installation of your rainwater tank, you may also have to install and register a Backflow Prevention Device. Details of these rainwater tanks are provided in the Rainwater Tank Local Information Sheet above.

Backflow Prevention

For more information about installing rainwater tanks in Coffs Harbour, contact Council on 02 6648 4000.

Using the Water from Your Rainwater Tank

In areas connected to the public water supply, NSW Health supports the use of rainwater tanks for non-drinking uses, such as toilet flushing, washing clothes or in water heating systems, and outdoors for uses such as garden watering, car washing, filling swimming pools, spas and ornamental ponds, and fire fighting.


NSW Health recommends that people use the public water supply for drinking and cooking because it is filtered, disinfected and generally fluoridated. The quality of public water supplies is regularly monitored and in urban areas this remains the most reliable source of good quality drinking water for the community.

Maintaining a Rainwater Tank

A properly maintained rainwater tank can provide good quality drinking water. Providing the rainwater is clear, has little taste or smell and is from a well maintained water catchment system it is probably safe and unlikely to cause any illness for most users.

People who choose to use rainwater for drinking and cooking and people who are not connected to Council’s reticulated water supply should be aware of potential risks associated with microbiological and chemical contamination.


NSW Health provides information on how to maintain your rainwater tank for a healthy water supply.  

Coffs Harbour Laboratory can provide water quality testing services for private water supplies from rainwater tanks.