What is the Difference Between a Water Bowser and a Water Tank?

When is a water tank not a water tank? When it is in fact a water bowser, what is the difference then? A water bowser is a far rarer term than a water tank. A water tank is commonly used to describe a static water container which may contain either potable or non potable water.

Water tanks may be located either above or underground and are particularly useful for rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is a term used to describe catching, storing and using rainwater. In an age where we are trying to conserve water, rainwater harvesting is a good ecological alternative, especially for usages such as watering gardens or washing cars.

The term water bower on the other hand is used to describe a mobile water supply. These are particularly useful for deploying potable water in emergency situations, for example when there is a breakdown in mains freshwater supply.

Interestingly the etymology of bowser is that it originated in 1921 as a trade name of SF Bowser Inc., the company of Sylvanus Bowser, the US inventor of the first fuel pump. It is a popular term in Australia and New Zealand where it refers to a ‘fuel oil pump’

Water bowsers are particularly useful in situations where there is no availability of mains water, for example when water needs to be moved around a farm or golf course or even for a festival.

They are commonly manufactured from tough plastic with a low centre of gravity to ensure stability. There are a surprising number of additional design considerations such as aerodynamic design and easy access for cleaning. Bowsers that need to be transported by road must be highway legal and have a suitable chassis. Further considerations include capacity of the bowser and whether or not a pump is required.

So when considering purchasing water storage, you need to question your requirements. Do you need your water supply to be mobile? In which case you need to research water bowsers. Alternatively are you looking to collect rainwater? If so you’ll need a non-potable water tank. On the other hand, if you’re looking to store water for human consumption, you need to look for a potable water tank.

A final question is ‘What capacity of tank or bowser’? Remember to consider not only the amount of water you need, but also the storage space you have available.