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Home Maintenance Advice BASIX and Bushfires
Bushfire requirements for rainwater tanks in NSW Print E-mail

When building or renovating a home in a designated bushfire zone, a condition of the development application may be to include a static water storage on the property.  The water supply should be available at all times, for the purpose of assisting the home occupier and/or the local fire authority with fighting or preventing a bushfire. 

Dedicated water supply requirements are based on the lot size, and are governed by the Rural Fire Service.  The storage tank should be easy to locate, and fitted with a Storz connection.

What size water tank is required for bush fire protection? 

The requirement for dedicated water supply is determined by the bush fire attack level (BAL) and the lot size.  If the property is within a BAL rated area, then a water supply is required.  Capacity requirements are shown in the following table.

Development Type

Water Requirement


Residential Lots (<1,000m2)

5,000 l/lot


Rural-residential Lots (1,000 – 10,000m2) <1 ha

10,000 l/lot


Large Rural/Lifestyle Lots (>10,000m2) >1 ha

20,000 l/lot

Dual Occupancy

2,500 l/unit


Townhouse/Unit Style (e.g. Flats)

5,000 l/unit up to 20,000l maximum.




Other requirements

  • Any onsite stored water supply shall be easily identifiable from the street frontage with appropriate signage directing fire fighters towards the side of the asset where the supply is located;
  • A 65mm Storz outlet for firefighting purposes is made available at the lowest possible point on the tank;
  • Gate or Ball valve and pipes are adequate for water flow and are metal rather than plastic;
  • Underground tanks have an access hole of 200mm to allow tankers to refill direct from the tank. A hardened ground surface for truck access is supplied within 4 metres of the access hole;
  • Above ground tanks are manufactured of concrete or metal and raised tanks have their stands protected.
  • Plastic tanks are not to be used, but can be used as an alternate solution if an appropriate protection measure for the tank is submitted.
  • Tanks on the hazard side of a building:
    • Have all above ground water pipes external to the building made of metal including and up to any taps.
    • Have shielding to protect pumps from radiant heat and direct flame contact.

Requirements for BASIX in addition to Fire Protection

  • Dedicated water storage for bush fire protection is in addition to requirements that form part of a BASIX certificate.
  • The water storage for BASIX and fire requirements may be contained in separate tanks, or may be in one tank of the combined capacity, with an outlet positioned to allow the upper portion of the tank to be drawn off for BASIX purposes. 
  • The Rural Fire Services have clarified that dedicated water storage for fire protection may be used for other purposes from time to time (e.g. gardening), however the onus is on the home occupier to ensure the availability of water during high risk times. 


Further information and references

Rural Fire Services Single Dwelling Application Kit

Water Supply for Fire Fighting Purposes


This material has been prepared as a result of discussions with the NSW Department of Planning although RHAA is solely responsible for the material. The RHAA provides these as general principles with no implied liability for the advice. In all circumstances you should rely on your own sources for advice that will meet your specific needs. 


Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:10
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