Top Sources of Distinctive Colours, Odours and Tastes in Rainwater

Rainwater TanksA 2010 study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that about 49,000 households in Perth were using rainwater tanks. Today, there are many more homes that have installed water tanks.

If your household relies on rainwater, you should collect, store and pipe the water in a way that preserves its quality. Here are five primary sources of odours, colours and tastes in rainwater:


Some pollens have strong tastes and smells, and if they accumulate in guttering or on roof catchments, they can affect the aesthetic quality of the stored water.

Soil and Decaying vegetation

Gutters that are not cleaned frequently enough, or don’t drain completely between rain events can allow the accumulation of soils and decaying vegetation. The contaminants, in turn, affect the quality of water.

Algal growth

Algae grows when stored rainwater is exposed to light. Exposure to light can occur if your piping is not impervious to light or your tank is open. Although most algae is safe to humans, the growth of algae in water affects the water’s taste, odour and appearance.


Leaves from trees such as eucalyptus and blue gum contain tannins. If such leaves collect and accumulate in gutters and tanks, they can adversely affect the aesthetic quality of the collected and stored water.

Sediments and Slimes

Deposits usually accumulate at the bottom of dirty water tanks. Slimes and biofilms frequently form in pipework and guttering that collect stagnant water. During warm to hot weather, anaerobic growth can occur in the sediments and slimes leading to the production of sulphides. The produced sulphides give water a characteristic rotten-egg odour.

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Good quality rainwater has no distinctive colours, odours and tastes. Various interventions can help you maintain the water quality. Close the tank and make sure to clean your tank and gutters regularly. Also, use an appropriate home water filtration system.