ENVIRONMENTAL group Greening Bathurst has urged Bathurst Regional Council to subsidise the cost of tanks for residents to improve the city's water security.
The group says a widespread installation of tanks would be more efficient in collecting water than the urban stormwater scheme for which council has received NSW Government funding.
Greening Bathurst chair Ashley Bland has written to council about the water challenge facing the city, with Chifley Dam now below 30 per cent and extreme restrictions in place.
"We strongly recommend that BRC [Bathurst Regional Council] initiate ASAP a subsidy for a 10,000-litre tank on every residential site as well as business premises," Mr Bland says in the letter.
Greening Bathurst's recommendation is for council to contribute 50 per cent of the cost of the installation of a residential roof water tank for residents.
"A decent size 2.5-metre diameter, 10,000L round plastic tank at around $1500 is surprisingly inexpensive," Mr Bland says in the letter.
"The cost would be a little more if plumbed into laundry and toilet facilities where possible, and installed with first flush dispersal and mosquito proofing."
A roof area of 250 square metres with 40 millimetres of rain a month, as occurred in Bathurst during the drought year of 2019, has the potential to harvest around 10,000 litres of rainwater per premises each month, according to the letter.
"If about half the homes in Bathurst had 10,000L of rainwater storage during the 2019 drought year, the total volume captured would have been 80 million litres per month," Mr Bland writes.
"If all the homes and business had a similar volume tank, this would harvest about 200 million litres per month in a drought year.
"This is equivalent to over 50 per cent of Bathurst's water demands."
The letter says a water tank captures the rain where it falls, would provide an immediate benefit and wouldn't require the energy needed in "collecting and pumping water in the proposed city-wide stormwater harvesting scheme".
"Furthermore, all us, particularly older Bathurstians, could continue to water our gardens in a drought year using the convenience of a hose connected to our home tank," Mr Bland writes.
The NSW Government provided $10 million in funding last November for council's priority water projects, the stormwater harvesting scheme and a pipeline from Winburndale Dam to the Bathurst Water Filtration Plant.
The stormwater harvesting scheme will aim to capture stormwater run-off in a number of holding dams to be built across the city and then redirected for treatment.