Rainwater tanks

A rainwater tank is a great way to capture and store rainwater from your roof to use around your home and garden.

When your rainwater system is properly installed and plumbed into your home, it could save up to 40% of your drinking water supply. This could save you up to $200 a year.

It’s important to remember that rainwater tanks require regular maintenance. Below are some simple steps to check that your system is working and easy maintenance tasks to help keep your tank clean and reliable.

How to check if your system is working

Check there’s rainwater in the tank

Have a look inside the tank or knock on the side and listen for sounds of any water inside. If your tank is empty, check:

  •  that your inlet screen isn’t blocked
  •  for any holes in the tank.

The water level may be low if there hasn’t been much rain lately.

Rainwater self check step1

Check your pump and mains switching device are plugged in and switched on

If your rainwater system has a pump, it may be on the inside or the outside of your tank.

If your system is gravity fed, skip this step.



rainwater self check step 2

Check you’re using rainwater

Turn on a tap, flush a toilet or turn on your washing machine (if it's connected to your tank) and listen for sounds that your pump is starting up.

Don’t have a pump? Just check that the water is flowing.

rainwater self check step 3

What to do if you find a problem

If you think your system may not be working properly, call an independent rainwater tank specialist for advice. Alternatively, contact our WaterFix® team. Our trained technicians can check that your system is working correctly and give advice or quotes to fix any problems. 

What do you need to do before you contact us?
To help us determine what type of system you have, how easy it is to access and how much time may be needed for an appointment, please provide as much detail as possible about your system (including a photo if you email us), eg:

  • When was your tank installed?  
  • What size is your tank?
  • When was your system last cleaned (if at all)?
  • What is your system connected to, eg toilets, garden taps, irrigation, washing machine?
  • What problems have you experienced with your system?
  • How often do you hear your pump running?
Ready to contact us?
Call us on 1800 807 475 weekdays from 7.30 am to 6 pm or email your details and address to  rainwatertanks@sydneywater.com.au

How to maintain your tank

Tank inlet screens are the last point of protection from debris entering your rainwater tank.

Make sure you clean them regularly to make sure there isn’t too much build up. If your screen is screwed in, you can buy removable tank screens that fit on top and are easy to clean. 

A first flush device prevents the first wash of dirty water from the roof entering the tank.

The water captured in the first flush slowly drains out so the device is ready to capture the dirty water next time it rains. Over time, the first flush device will get a build up of dirt and debris, so we recommend that you clean it every three to six months.

Not all systems will have a first flush device. If you're not sure what to look for, watch the video below.

How do you clean your first flush device?

  1. Unscrew the bottom of the first flush device. Take care to avoid being splashed by dirty water as it rushes out.
  2. Rinse out the bottom cap that you unscrewed (and all its components) with fresh water.
  3. Reassemble everything as you found it.

Rainwater lands on your roof and then flows into the roof gutter, down into the pipes and into your tank. 

Regularly checking and cleaning your gutters is a simple way to prevent blockages, and improve the water quality and efficiency of your system.

Another effective option is to get good quality gutter guards or downpipe screens. 

Mains switching devices are designed to ensure you receive water from the drinking water supply when your tank is empty or your pump has stopped.

Regularly check your pump and mains switching device to make sure they're operating normally. Sometimes these devices can fail due to an electrical storm or blackout and will need to be reset manually. 

Not all systems have a pump and mains switching device. If you're not sure what to look for, watch the video below.