International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
USA - June 1982
5: Current And Future Practices
Recent Initiatives in
Raintank Supply Systems for South Australia
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.
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