Palmerston North residents are being encouraged to consider installing rainwater tanks to help ride out droughts and emergencies.
Roof Water Harvesting Centre director Stan Abbott from Massey University in Wellington will be talking about how to do it at a presentation in Palmerston North on Wednesday.
City council eco design adviser Adriana Fontan said councils and residents in other parts of New Zealand facing issues with their water supplies were moving toward greater use of domestic water collection.
If people had their own tanks, it reduced demand on the city's drinking water supply, and also stemmed the flow of stormwater to be piped away.
Mr Abbott said after last summer's drought that more local authorities should be encouraging householders to supplement their water supply with rainwater tanks.
He said roof-collected water could be used for toilets, in washing machines, and for outdoor use.
Ms Fontan did not know how many people in Palmerston North were already collecting water, but hoped there would be a groundswell of interest.
She said a small 200-litre rainwater tank would be given away at the presentation as an incentive for people to consider the idea.
The giveaway unit was small enough to fit in the back of a car, but would ensure a household had enough water to cope in a civil defence emergency, with a supply that would be replenished every time it rained.
The system was inexpensive and easy to set up, she said.
It would supplement stores of bottled water for drinking, and reduce dependence on tankers bringing in water for damaged areas during a civil defence emergency.
After the Christchurch earthquakes it was found that earlier recommendations that each person need three litres of water a day needed to be increased to about 10 litres a day to cover drinking, food preparation, hygiene and pet care.
People who were interested in collecting enough water to use on the garden would need a bigger tank than the one to be given away, and would also have to be aware of planning and building regulations.
Mr Abbott would be able to explain rules on installing tanks, what extra steps needed to be taken if people wanted their own supply of safe drinking water, and some traps to avoid.
The presentation is aimed at the public and professionals including designers and builders.
The one hour presentation is at the Sound and Vision Zone of the Palmerston North Central Library at 5.30pm on Wednesday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with increased oil exploration?