WHETHER it is a newly awakened environmental conscience or the lure of government money that is playing on the minds of Western Australians, water tank sales are on the rise.
A rebate of up to $300, as part of the Waterwise Rebate Program courtesy of the WA Government, together with an awareness campaign promoted by the Water Corporation, is leading to strong demand for water tanks in the suburbs.
Osborne Park-based firm Rainfill Tanks has been providing corrugated tanks to the urban residential market for more than two decades. Its director Mark Cussons said the rebate, introduced in February this year, had provided a further incentive for those considering becoming more water self-sufficient.
In addition, uncertainty created as a result of the war on terrorism and, in particular, the war in Iraq, had a direct result on tank sales.
Mr Cussons said people had expressed interest as a result of the perceived threat to WA’s water supplies and dams from terrorist attacks.
He said he believed that because water was one of WA’s most precious resources and that a human could only live three to four days without it, there was a reason why the water wagons were the first to arrive in the case of natural disasters.
Mr Cussons said judging by the steady increase in the purchase of backyard rainwater tanks, house-holders were taking more responsibility for their own water supplies as part of a general trend to become self-sufficient.
“People are increasingly growing their own vegetables, making their own bread or their own beer,” he said.
“This is just another thing people have been interested in. We had a number of sales as a direct result of the concerns people had with the Iraq war.
“We are finding this year, more than ever before, that people are planning to take advantage of the coming winter rains by installing their own rainwater tanks.”
An internal Water Corporation newsletter indicates that at the end of May rebates for 907 rainwater tanks were provided valued at $102,350.
A $50 rebate is available for a typical residential tank with a storage of between 600 and 1,999 litres that can retail for less than $600. For tanks greater than 2,000 litres a $150 rebate is provided.
A further $150 rebate is available if the tank is installed by a plumber to replace the need for scheme water in the toilet and bathroom.
Bellevue water tank manufacturer Pioneer Water Tanks is also noticing a significant lift in orders for water tanks, although for an entirely different reason – drought.
Pioneer Water Tanks director Gavin Connaughton said his company was producing larger tanks of between 27,000 and 40,000 litres predominantly for larger land owners and farmers.
He said it was not the rebate but a general concern with water consumption and the general environment that was playing a big part in the increase in sales. The continued growth in new semi-rural subdivisions was also driving demand.
Many of those buying the Pioneer tanks were based on small hobby farms on subdivisions dotting the outer-metropolitan area, in particular Bullsbrook and Chittering.
However, Mr Connaughton said, the drought over the past year throughout Australia was also playing a big part in driving the new demand.
“People are more concerned and more water conscious after having a couple of years of drought,” he said.
“They are obviously more concerned now with storing water.”
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