Will every new house have a 10,000L water tank?
ROUS County Council will request Northern Rivers councils to increase the minimum size for water tanks for new dwellings to 10,000 litres as part of their DA requirements.
Councillor Sharon Cadwallader presented the notice of motion, which was adopted unanimously at the last meeting.
Cr Cadwallader said the idea was to ensure all new residential dwellings in the Byron, Ballina, Lismore and Richmond Valley areas, and across the state, were required to have rainwater tanks at a minimum size of 10,000 litres.
The motion also requests for councils to demand all toilets, outdoor taps and clothes washing machines to be connected to the tanks.
The motion stated this should be required except where approved alternative water supplies
are available, such as a connection to a recycled water supply scheme.
The move would mean a change to the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX), requirements that apply to all residential dwelling types and are part of the development application process in NSW.
Since the implementation of BASIX in 2004, the program has significantly reduced water demand.
"With all the new housing going on, I think the minimum size tank should be 10,000 litres, they should be connected to all toilets, outdoor taps and clothes washing machines," Mrs Cadwallader said.
"It's very hard to retrofit connections to toilets and laundry if the house is already built, but it's not if it's in the construction stage."
"It needs to be done at the DA stage, and it needs to tick the box that they are catching as much water as they can - a 10,000-litre tank is not a small tank - and this new legislation needs to be brought in.
"We will try to get support from our constituent councils, and we'll have a local government conference coming up shortly and seek support from councils around NSW."
The councillor said the idea was in line with Rous' Future Water 2060 Plan.
"This is quite pertinent, because of all the conversations going around for decision as to whether we will do further studies on the Dunoon dam," Mrs Cadwallader said.
"There is not one solution to the future of water for the area, it's going to be a mix of groundwater (and others), I don't know if the dam will be the answer, but we have to do the study to find out whether or not it is a viable option."
Mrs Cadwallader was re-elected deputy chair of Rous County Council at last week's meeting.