This study explored the relationship private landowners have with their domestic rainwater tank and how that relationship influences the reliability of privately operated rainwater tanks for long-term performance and delivery of service. It found that tank owners generally placed a high value on their tank, desired to have them fully operational and made a reasonable effort to keep them functioning. However, the frequency and extent of maintenance action and effort was variable, and in the context of a private residence, rainwater tanks were typically afforded a low relative priority for repair when compared with other residential assets. This low relative priority could be a primary driver for the reported delay between when a fault occurs with the tank and when it is repaired. This ‘repair lag’ means that a portion of domestic rainwater tanks are likely to be non-operational at any one time.
When planning a decentralised system for the management of stormwater, redundancies should be included to cover these gaps in service delivery. It is also recommended that programmes that support private landowners to maintain their rainwater tanks are implemented to minimise repair lag
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