Melbourne Polytechnic Green Skills Centre

Water Recycling


Rain water harvesting is the deliberate collection of rainwater for the purpose of reuse. The reuse can be for anything from livestock watering to mining. In some areas, rainwater is the only source of water in a building and thus the occupants are closely attuned to the weather patterns and tank level.

This is common in rural inland Australia today. In most cases in the urban areas, it is rainwater collection from buildings roofs to be reused for landscape irrigation or for reuse within a building – in this scenario, rainwater is used as a supplementary supply to the main water reticulated supply.

The main concern with reusing rainwater in a public building (aside from the weather) is that it is possible for the water to be contaminated and unfit for potable (drinking) use. Potable use is not just water from the drinking fountains, it is also the water for showers and that used in the laboratories. So rather than purify a clean resource, this building uses rainwater for toilet flushing and other non-potable uses within the building.

Around the building are 5 plastic Rainwater storage tanks, totaling 110,000 Litres. The outlet pipe from the storage system has an Ultra violet filtration system. This works by passing the water through a tube with a UV fluorescent tube inside it – the UV light kills any bugs that might still be in the water. The water from these tanks will then be used for flushing toilets in our building, and providing water to the laboratories. As well as this the water will be piped to the ablution block of Building B, which has the highest water use of its type on the campus. That should save a lot of water.

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Last Modified: 27th November 2014