Rainwater tanks

An installed water tankCollecting and using rainwater is a positive way of reducing water usage. Before installing a rainwater tank, there are some important factors to consider.

Is a Building Permit required?

A building permit is generally not required for a rainwater tank, as they are not classified under the National Construction Code (Building Code of Australia) 2011.

However, a building permit may be required if the tank is to be supported by an existing building, or sitting on a stand.

A rainwater tank is also required to have the overflow connected to the stormwater drainage system by a licensed plumber.

Is a Planning Permit required?

A planning permit may be required where a rainwater tank is to be installed within a multi-unit development or where an existing planning permit requires approval for additional building works and each case needs to be assessed separately.

Whilst there are no specific planning restrictions governing the installation of residential rainwater tanks, it is advisable to check with Council's Statutory Planning Team for any restrictions that may apply (e.g. to lots under 300m² in area, or to homes where a Heritage Overlay applies).

To find out if you need a planning permit, please contact Council’s Statutory Planning Team on 9205 5373.

Here is some more information that may assist you in installing a water tank at your home:


  • Tanks must be fitted with an overflow pipe of the same diameter as the inlet pipe, and must be connected to the stormwater system discharging into the legal point of discharge.


  • Rainwater collected in tanks is not suitable for drinking because it can contain contaminants from collection surfaces.
  • Tanks must be sealed to prevent risk to small children and to keep insects, vermin and other animals out.

Tank siting

  • If a rainwater tank is part of other building works, or is supported by another structure, it is permitted to project into the minimum setback from a side or rear boundary by 500mm.
  • Tanks up to 3m high should be a minimum of 500mm from any side or rear boundary.
  • Freestanding tanks should not be located forward of the existing building line.
  • You should leave a gap of at least 500mm between a tank and any side or rear boundary to allow access for maintenance.


  • Stored water should be kept free of contaminants: leaves, atmospheric pollution, animal/bird droppings and other matter.
  • The tank must be professionally designed and manufactured using corrosion resistant, non-toxic materials.
  • Water tanks should be installed by a licensed plumber.
  • Any support stands must be professionally designed and constructed to meet structural regulations and manufacturer's recommendations, which will form part of your Building Permit application.

Further information
Yarra Building Services
9205 5095

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