Tanks, dual plumbing for new homes

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Dual household plumbing systems could be required for new homes in the Waikato district.

The Waikato District Council is about to begin public consultation on a new water supply bylaw, prompted by concerns at the lack of effective legal mechanisms to regulate and manage day-to-day water supply activities, reports the Waikato Times.

New dwellings needing mains water supply from Waikato District Council will also have to install rainwater tanks and a separate plumbing system for non-potable use such as toilet flushing, according to a proposed new bylaw, the paper reports.

Council staff see the bylaw as addressing things such as unauthorised water takes from fire hydrants, backflow prevention measures, rain harvesting and storage, and prevention of unauthorised water supply connections.

But one clause of the draft bylaw will also require all customers intending to build new premises and join the council water supply to build a tank to collect roof water.

This must then be connected to a separate plumbing system for non-consumption use such as toilet flushing, garden hosing, and irrigation.

The draft bylaw says the council water supply will only be used for potable use such as drinking, showering and internal washing, though a mains connection to the rainwater tank may be provided to allow for a minimum water level during prolonged dry spells.

Council community assets manager Richard Bax said this was the way of the future for water supply, with similar requirements already introduced by North Shore and Kapiti councils.

Mr Bax said it not only reduced the council’s water take, with obvious cost savings, but also helped control the worst peaks for the stormwater system, which would have a huge positive impact on the environment.

He said the recent long-term council community plan consultation process drew submissions of support for such an approach from the Tamahere Community Committee and several Raglan submitters. “I understand there has been good buy-in to the idea in North Shore, so it will be really interesting to see how it goes here,” Mr Bax said.

Mr Bax said Environment Waikato had also encouraged such an approach.

It had warned councils should be mindful of not counting on being able to take “whatever you need whenever you want”.

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