Skip to main content

A Tax on Rainwater?

Over the past year there has been much debate in Australia over the idea of a rainwater tax for residential properties. It all seems to have started over a leaked Federal Government email by National Water Commission chief, Ken Matthews, suggesting that "Legally, all water in Australia is vested in governments."

Mr Mathews goes on to say:

"Governments have not yet considered the capture of water from roofs in rainwater tanks to be of sufficient magnitude to warrant the issuing of specific entitlements to use this class of water.

"However, if rainwater tanks were to be adopted on a large scale such that their existence impacts significantly on the integrated water cycle, consideration could be given to setting an entitlement regime for this class of water."


You can read the full article about the email and its subsequent discussion in this report by the Herald Sun dated January 14, 2007.

I can certainly understand the logic of Government ownership of rainwater and how, if residential properties were all to start collecting rainwater in greater quantities, it would affect storm water run off and ground water levels. However the idea to put a tax on rainwater is counter productive.

Many Australian state governments have been encouraging the use of rainwater tanks, even offering rebates to have them installed and plumbed into the water supply of residential properties. To put a tax on the collection of rainwater would be like having to pay back the rebate and then keep on paying for doing the environmentally sound thing of installing a rainwater tank.

To think that we might have to pay extra could be argument enough for uninstalling the tank and relying entirely on mains water. Next stop - increase the price of mains water usage?

In a country like Australia rain water isn't a reliable service. The whole point of capturing rain water is to take the pressure off our dams and other water supplies when they don't receive enough rain. Is the government likely to tax us on the actual amount of rain water we collect or are they likely to tax us on the size of our rainwater tanks regardless of whether the rain comes or not. The latter could be argument two for uninstalling the tank.

A tax on rainwater might be valid if we were literally sucking the moisture out of the air. Farming clouds. However we're not. We're simply collecting water as it falls from the sky. It's almost as silly as taxing people for using solar power. The more solar panels you have the more tax you pay.

If you're going to tax people for being environmentally responsible in a way that the government has encouraged then ultimately you are taking a step backwards. A tax is not a benefit for doing the right thing. A tax is something that should be applied to people and industries that persist in being environmentally irresponsible.

I did read that the current Federal Government had moved to assure people that tax on rainwater wasn't likely to occur in the foreseeable future but just lately I've heard some politician on the news raise the issue again, warning that it could happen?

I can tell you that any government that thinks this is a good idea had better make a really good case for it because, on the face of it, they would lose my vote entirely.

Comments

  1. What about the last bit of the email too! ie:

    Mr Matthews said in his email: "It is important to think of the capture of water from any source in an integrated way.

    "If 1000 homes were to install 5000-litre tanks with an annual yield of 57,000 litres, this is 57 million litres that would not have reached a river or ground water system, or - viewed another way - is taken from either the environment's entitlement or another productive use."

    This is like being penalised for having water dropping out of the sky - which is for all of us to use, by Nature's or God's plan for the Earth!

    You could say that the water that lands on our gardens or on farmers' land doesn't reach other capture areas either for their entitlements! Rain is for everyone, the government doesn't own it!

    There'll be tax on electricity next!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I certainly agree that the government doesn't own rainwater any more than it owns the air we breathe.

    Though I think maybe there is a tax on electricity since that isn't a natural resource. Perhaps you mean solar electricity?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I thought electricity was a natural resource - I mean - it was always there ie: lightning in a thunderstorm?

    Maybe it was just man that harnessed its power for his own resources, but it was there, man didn't make it or invent it.

    What are those metal rods that you stand apart that creates an electric field between it, that's natural electricity isn't it?

    That's what I thought anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  4. True, electricity does occur naturally but the electricity we use in our homes is generated by power stations it isn't collected from the environment.

    A power station turns one form of energy into another. For example a Solar cell uses the energy from sunlight to create electricity.

    A tax on lightening would be interesting if we collected and stored electricity from electrical storms.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If they're going to do that then they should consider all of the rain that soaks into people's clothes or is captured in the mouths of children playing in the rain. I mean, that's a form of rainwater capturing isn't it? I think the values would be significant if added up.

    While we're at it, The government also owns the air, they should totally start charging a tax for people to breath it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. One of the things I was going to say in this article but didn't is ...what next, a tax on air? The whole idea of a tax on rain water is silly but it wouldn't surprise me if it happened some day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi David,
    There are areas in Hawaii that get all of their water by catchment. As a matter of fact some of those areas are totally off the grid. They use solar as well. I think more people should go this way. But, like you mentioned here, the govt will find a way to get money out of it.
    In America we have emissions on our vehicles. everyone who has a car has to pay to have their vehicle emission tested, so in an abstract way we are paying a tax for our air. When you figure out how many ways our dollar is taxed, it's like we wind up with 10 cents on the dollar. Money that we actually get to keep.
    You are taxed when you get your check, taxed when you spend the dollar, taxed at tax time. And god forbid you get a tax refund, because the next year even that money is taxed! So it's taxed a second time! All of your savings intrest is taxed. it's out of hand. Oh and if you have money in the bank and want to get some of it dont forget the whopping $3.00 Atm Transaction fee!
    It's time for people to have another Boston tea party here in America. LOL
    Sherri

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can understand the logic of a tax on emissions by vehicles Sherri. It seems like a way to discourage people from polluting the air. However collection of rain water is an environmentally responsible thing to do. You really need to give people incentives not deterrents for being 'green'.

    I recently saw the movie 'The Corporation' which contained a story where a country actually privatized their rain water. Meaning that everyone had to pay to use rainwater. It eventually lead to a massive uprising because people had to choose between things like buying less food in order to buy water, or not sending kids to school etc. Thankfully the uprising of the people proved successful and rainwater became freely available again. It's a practical example of how silly taxing rain water is.

    I do agree that it sounds like you need another Boston tea party. A tax on your tax refund - that is totally out of hand!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments not directly related to the post will be deleted. This includes spammy generic comments with links to websites not related to the post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

My First Time on a P&O Cruise Ship - Mini Cruise Almost to Kangaroo Island

Outwardly I wasn't concerned about my first time on a P&O Cruise ship but inwardly I guess my subconscious anxiety was working overtime. I'll spare you the details but just know my digestive system was pretty empty by the time my partner, Kathy, and I left the house.

That said, once we were on the boat for our three day cruise from Adelaide, South Australia, with a stop at Kangaroo Island (KI), and back to Adelaide again, everything went pretty well, with nothing to be too concerned about. 
The ship didn't leave until four in the afternoon. However we were able to board in time to not only have lunch on the boat but also spend a couple of hours exploring.
Our ship was called the Pacific Eden and is pretty much what you might imagine a cruise ship to be from the outside. Maybe bigger or smaller than you think depending upon whether you've seen a cruise ship before. This particular ship will be retired from March 2019, having been sold to another cruise ship company…

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Review: Titans, Season One, Netflix/WBTV Original Series *Minor Spoilers*

When I saw the first trailers for the Netflix/WBTV original series Titans my expectations were set extremely low. Granted my point of reference was the recent Teen Titans Go animated series (and movie), which I've seen a few episodes, and don't like at all. To be fair though, that show is definitely not targeted at me.

Anyhow the Titan trailer didn't do enough to hook me in and Robin's 'F*ck Batman' quote toward the end had my eyes rolling with 'here we go again with a whiney, entitled Robin like the Chris O'donnell version in the 1990's movies.

However, from the very first episode I was pleasantly surprised with the story and ideas presented, and was hooked, to the point of binge watching several episodes in a row if I had time.

We learn Dick Grayson is trying to retire from being Robin and has moved to Detroit, where he's working as a detective for the Detroit PD.

Full disclosure, I've been wanting to see a new take on a live action Robin…

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Ten years in the making and Marvel finally releases part one of the Avengers versus Thanos, A.K.A. Avengers: Infinity War.

After seeing all 18 films in the MCU prior to this, and liking most of them, I was pretty confident this movie would not disappoint.

Other than a few minor issues - that are all my personal taste and in no way reflect on the quality of the film - it really delivers. Thanos is indeed the big, bad villain of the MCU that we've been antcipating.

Why 'We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film)' Misses the Mark

If you're one of the few people who haven't at least heard about Gillette's short film, We Believe: The Best Men Can Be then take a moment to watch their video below. It seems like it is an earnest attempt to address undesirable male behaviour and attitudes that have become branded with the unhelpful term 'Toxic Masculinity' but for me, and a lot of people, it just missed the mark.

At this point, the real success of the film, despite the Youtube dislike ratio of approximately 2:1 is the increased brand awareness for Gillette - and I guess the 1 million a year for the next three years they will be donating to programs supporting men of positive action (but they could have done that anyway with no fanfare).



I get what Gillette were going for here by showing examples of past/current behaviour/attitudes in communities, business, and media that has brought about terms like 'toxic masculinity' and the #metoo movement. It's an attempt at reflection on whether…

Movie Review: The Death of Superman (2018 Animated Feature) *Spoilers*

From time to time I keep checking in on WB Animation to see what they're doing with their DC Superheroes, so, when I saw The Death of Superman appear on Netflix my first thought was... didn't they do this already?

2007's animated feature, Superman/Doomsday is based on the same Death of Superman comic and, while the two movies are not exactly the same story, they are very similar.

The main difference may be that Superman/Doomsday tells almost the complete story arc of the comic series it's based upon whereas this new feature continues the story in a sequel animated movie, Reign of the Supermen (which I haven't seen).

I've said before, I don't read comics, but I know enough that The Death of Superman graphic novel is meant to be one of the all time great Superman stories.

I don't know how faithful an adaptation this film is? Hopefully not close because it's terrible.

In this movie we have a Superman who is well into his Justice League years but seemi…