Australians are desperate to do their bit for the environment. So desperate in fact that two Queensland men have been charged for allegedly trying to steal a Brisbane business’s 5,000L water tank. 

Are they criminals or simply entrepreneurial queue jumpers? In south-east Queensland, where level five water restrictions are scheduled for April, it can now take up to 30 weeks to get a water tank. The same story echoes across other parts of Australia.

Delays can occur at various stages of the process. Manufacturers are building new facilities to cope but that will take time. There are also rumours of raw material shortages.

We spoke to the in-house plumbing expert at Bunnings’s Cannon Hill store. While the wait time isn’t 30 weeks for his company, he did concur “it’s mad”. The real stock issues are apparently with the 3,000 and 5,000L tanks – which attract the government rebate. They “go out the door”.

Some companies are simply “not pressing tanks out quickly enough”, he says. And even if you manage to get a tank, procuring fittings is another issue. Bunnings has seen a tenfold increase in the demand for siphon elbows in recent times, for example.

It’s all about “excessive demand”, says Tanks A Lot in Koo Wee Rup which has seen a 200% increase in orders over the last year. Much of this rise occurred within a two to three week period – straight after a water restriction upgrade was announced.

At rural provider, Pioneer Water Tanks (a BlueScope Water Company), the turnaround time is unusually short, a mere five weeks, according to sales manager Nigel. And no, it’s not due to a ready access to steel.

In fact, some punters are paying more to buy Pioneer’s smaller, more expensive tanks – a mere 27,000L compared with their larger 92,000L tanks – just to get into the game. Normally, these tanks are bought for rural properties, but increasingly they’re making their way to the urban fringes.

Perhaps what water tank manufacturers really need is some bad publicity to help them catch their breath. Maybe a small giardia scare. Or how about this?

Have you had problems getting tanked? Email [email protected].