In order to identify the most cost effective residential water system that meets your needs the following steps should be undertaken. The outcomes from each step should be utilised to inform your decision on the type of technologies that are needed and the type of system that will be most appropriate.

Step A: Your roof structure needs to be assessed, to determine if it is suitable for collecting water. There are certain roof types (e.g. thatch) that are not the best for collecting rain water, when compared to, for e.g., roof tiles. External factors, like trees, nearby industries and installation space for the water tank should also be taken into account. Available budget will also play a big role.

Step B: This step is particularly important if you are installing a rainwater harvesting system (as opposed to a fully integrated or municipal back up system). The size of your roof will determine the amount of water you can collect in your water tank. This variable needs to be combined with the rainfall patterns in your climatic zone. The calculation can become a bit complicated, and access to specific rainfall data might be difficult, as a result it is suggested that this calculation be undertaken by rain water harvesting professionals.

Step C: The outcomes from steps A and B will inform the types of technologies that will be utilised and type and size of the water tank that is most appropriate. This step involves listing those requirements, and ensuring link to Step D (which should be run in parallel).

Step D: Choose a type of system:

Rainwater harvesting: This is an easy to install system that is relatively inexpensive. 

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Municipal Backup: Acts as a backup when there is no water supply from your reticulation system, it is like a battery bank for electricity. It supplies high pressure water. This does not have a rainwater harvesting feature.

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Fully integrated: This combines the rainwater harvesting element with the municipal backup system.

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Step E: Identify relevant laws that need to be complied with.

Step F: Plan you maintenance schedule. If the water in your tank is not properly enclosed or treated, it can become a health hazard.

Step G: Find a reputable installer.

Step H: Enjoy.

Note: Please refer to the Technology section to get a better overview of the type of water tanks that are available, they range in size, design and whether they can be installed above or below ground.