Australian agricultural farmers haven't given themselves an easy time of it, really: of all the populated continents in the world this is by far the driest, and that can make trying to keep your crops properly irrigated a real problem. One way to help with this issue is to store rainwater in a water tank and add it to the pool you draw on to keep your crops watered all year round--but what should you be doing to keep those tanks in fantastic working order?

EVERY MONTH: clear out the gutters

It's recommended that homeowners with domestic water tanks clean the gutters that feed into them every three to six months, but anyone using a tank for agricultural purposes needs to do this much more often than that. Dead leaves, fecal matter and other natural debris are a huge problem for these tanks, so make sure your gutters are as clear as they can be and check in on them every few weeks!

EVERY THREE MONTHS: maintain your mosquito mesh

Everyone knows mosquitoes thrive in the environment created by keeping a barrel of unpurified rainwater in a hot country--and that's why pretty much all tanks come with nets as standard. These nets fill up, degrade and generally lose efficacy over time, though, so make sure you're checking and clearing out yours regularly.

EVERY THREE MONTHS: make sure your pumps are working

Without working pumps, your tank will be useless to you. Because you're using this water to maintain your crops, you're going to be working these pumps harder than someone with a smaller barrel for purely domestic purposes, so it's important that you check in on them regularly and consider maintaining your water tank pumps to be an integral part of maintaining your wider irrigation system.

EVERY SIX MONTHS: test your water quality

It's important that you know what you're putting onto your crops, so you should have the quality and composition of your water professionally tested about twice a year. Make sure you're not contaminating plants that will be fed to people or animals, and be aware of the nutrients (or otherwise) you're adding to your soil.

EVERY TWELVE MONTHS: have your tanks professionally cleaned

Rainwater tanks will build up sediment over time. A little of this 'sludge' is fine for most agricultural purposes, but it's important not to let it fill up too much--quite apart from anything else, it wastes space in the tank! Have it cleared out by a rainwater tank service company about annually.