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1st International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - June 1982

Section 5: Current And Future Practices

Page 284

Recent Initiatives in Raintank Supply Systems for South Australia

Peter J. Hoey & Stephen F. West
Engineering and Water Supply Department of South Australia


Much of Australia is arid and experiences a high evaporation rate (Fig. 1). In these areas, lack of rainfall combined with high potential evaporation results in a scarcity of surface water in the form of permanent lakes and streams.

With a population of 14 million concentrated in large coastal cities, domestic water supply in Australia is most commonly provided by conventional reticulated systems, which draw water from large surface storages or from groundwater.

Besides being a necessity in many country areas, rainwater tank/roof collection systems have been and still are popular as adjuncts to urban water supplies in Australian towns and cities. This is particularly so in areas where the quality of aesthetic properties of the reticulated supply are poor. Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia is one such city.

A large proportion of Adelaide's water supply is drawn from the River Murray, a river beset with the problems familiar throughout, the world today, of rising salinity levels, increasing nutrient loads, turbidity, and algal blooms. The Australian media has for many years publicized the Murray's plight, with interest rising dramatically in recent years as the result of widespread drought conditions.

The South Australian Government and the public are concerned about deteriorating reticulated water quality, particularly that originating from the River Murray. There is a growing awareness of the benefits of rainwater systems in terms of water conservation and quality.

This paper discusses two recent government initiatives: a rainwater tank promotion campaign, its aims, its strategy and its results; and research work undertaken to gain a better understanding of raintank processes and demands, for incorporation into improved computer models design d to predict the reliability of rainwater tank/roof catchment systems.

PDF of full document (10pp, 320kb)

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