The use of decentralised water sources, including rainwater tanks, onsite water treatment systems and dual reticulation systems are playing an increasing role in the management of urban water resources. The successful implementation of decentralised water supply options depends on the acceptability and safe management of new systems at the household level. We report on a study of nearly 500 tank owners in South East Queensland, and 102 residents of developments with dual reticulated recycled water, who were surveyed in June and July 2007. This study compares the maintenance practices, reuse behaviours and motivations of three distinct groups; urban 'retrofitters', 'peri-urban' residents with established tanks, and residents of 'greenfield' estates where rainwater tanks and/or a dual reticulated supply has been mandated. Distinct differences in the use of rainwater tanks are found between these three groups. Conclusions highlight the difficulty in promoting the connection of rainwater tanks for internal household purposes and the need for on-going communication in estates with dual reticulation of recycled water. New tank owners, especially where tanks are mandated through development conditions, have yet to learn how to maintain their systems or utilise their tank water effectively to reduce mains consumption.