Rainwater tanks can cut household water consumption, saving you valuable money. By collecting water in this way, you can also help reduce the flow of storm water on roads and in creeks and cut contamination in natural waterways. However, rainwater tanks can also increase the risk of certain pests that can cause health problems. Find out how a first flush diverter can help you tackle one of the most common problems in Australia - mosquitoes.

Rainwater tanks and mosquitoes

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant, dirty water. What's more, they don't need a significant amount of water to breed in serious numbers, so your rainwater tank is an attractive place for these nuisance insects to breed.

Mosquitoes can carry a range of zoonotic diseases, and experts believe that the insects infect more than 69 million people around the world every year. The diseases that mosquitoes spread include yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria, all of which are possibly fatal. As such, it's important to stop them breeding in your rainwater tank.

Why you need a first flush diverter

Rainfall across Australia is generally sporadic. You may get a heavy shower one day, followed by sunshine for several days after, which means the flow of water to your rainwater tank is not continuous.

When it starts to rain, water will initially build up slowly in the roof gutter. Here, it will collect debris, dust, dirt and bacteria from animal waste. Small traces of pooled water in the gutters can also allow mosquitoes to breed. Then, as the rainwater flows through the system, these contaminants can make their way into the tank. Without anything to stop the flow, your rainwater tank could quickly become a mosquito breeding ground.

How first flush diverters work

First flush diverters are simple tools that divert the first flush of water into the system. The initial flow of water flows into a separate chamber that includes a ball and seat system. As the water in this chamber rises, the ball floats to the top.

Once the chamber is full, the ball rests on the seat at the top of the diverter chamber, stopping further water entering the chamber. The flow of water then continues into the main rainwater tank, with the first flow of contaminated water safely contained in the first flush chamber.

Disposing of the contaminated water

The first flush chamber uses a slow release valve to drain off the contaminated water after the rainfall. Once empty, the first flush chamber resets, getting the system ready for the next rainfall. The continual cycle stops contaminated water gathering anywhere in the system, significantly cutting the risk of a mosquito infestation.

A first flush diverter can help prevent mosquitoes breeding in your rainwater tank. Talk to a rainwater tanks supplier for more information or advice.