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Queensland Development Code for Rainwater Tanks

The recent drought had a severe impact on the Southern Downs Regional Council area, resulting in strict water restrictions being imposed across the entire region for more than a year.  Water was carted from Warwick to Stanthorpe for 16 months in order to maintain town water supply after Storm King Dam was depleted.

In June 2019, Council resolved to make an application to the then Minister of Housing and Public Works to allow Council to opt-in to the Queensland Development Code (QDC) water saving requirements for new residential and commercial buildings in water reticulation areas.  The Minister considered the application and associated reports as demonstrating a net benefit to the community and approved the requirement for the installation of rainwater tanks to new residential, commercial and industrial buildings.  Council resolved on 24 November 2021 to commence implementation of all performance requirements of QDC MP4.2 and 4.3 within reticulated town water areas on 1 July 2022.

Opting-in to the requirements of QDC MP4.2 and 4.3 aligns with Council’s Shaping Southern Downs (PDF 4.6MB) publication by implementing water sensitive urban design principles and the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (PDF 3.6MB) of valuing water by facilitating the provision of stormwater for homes and businesses.

As of 1 July 2022, QDC MP4.2 will be applicable in the Southern Downs Regional Council area for any new class 1 buildings (single dwellings, duplexes, terrace houses row houses and townhouses) and QDC MP4.3 will be applicable for any new commercial buildings (class 3 to 9) constructed in the Southern Downs Regional Council area.

Please note that class 2 apartment buildings are exempt.

Requirements applying to a new house

Refer to Queensland Development Code MP 4.2

·     Roof collection area - collect water from at least 50% of the roof area or 100 square metres (whichever is lesser)

·         Plumbed to service - toilets, washing machine, and at least one outdoor tap

·         Minimum capacity <5,000 litres (1100 gallons)

Requirements applying to class 3-9 buildings

Refer to Queensland Development Code MP 4.3

·         Roof collection area - collect water from at least 50 square metres of the roof area

·         Plumbed to service - toilets (50 square metres per pedestal) and outdoor taps

·         Minimum capacity - 1,500 litres per required pedestal - refer to Queensland Development Code MP 4.3

The approval of mandatory rainwater tanks will be issued as part of the overall plumbing approval for any new residential or non-residential building(s).

Ensure you check the location of any Council sewers, storm water or water mains on your allotment (refer to Queensland Development Code MP1.4).These may affect where you can site your rainwater tank.

Overflow from rainwater tanks needs to be discharged so as not to cause nuisance to neighbours or erosion of land. Acceptable points for overflow discharge may include a bubbler located 3 metres on downside of all buildings and 3 metres from property boundaries, or discharge into an existing Council-approved stormwater drainage system inter allotment/street channel.

Marking and Signage

The rainwater tank must have appropriate signage to warn that the water in the tank is not classed as drinking water. This sign must be in a visible position and of a size not less than 450 mm x 250 mm with text stating WARNING: RAINWATER in capital letters not less than 25mm in height.

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