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

* Thanks to constant spam comments by a Casino Marketing Moron who won't get the message that spam comments WILL be deleted ALL comments will be moderated and only cool, on topic comments will be approved.

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

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Batman Cosplay Breaks the World Record for Most Functional Gadgets

Julian Checkley in his record breaking Bat Suit. If anyone should hold the world record for most functional gadgets in a cosplay suit it's Batman. Not the actual Batman, whose suit is actually his work clothes and not cosplay, the honour goes to Batman Cosplayer, Julian Checkley.

ANZAC Day and the South Australian Governor General's New Fence

ANZAC Centenary Memorial Walk, Adelaide SA. Australian's love to honour their war heroes and so they should. South Australia is no exception, with memorials to fallen soldiers in almost every town and city. Adelaide even has road bridges named after famous battles from the Vietnam war. ANZAC Day (April 25th) is the one day where we put all those war memorials to use in memory of all who served from World War I onward with parades and dawn services attended by thousands. Arguably, ANZAC day is more popular than it ever has been in Australia, with pilgrimages back to Gallipoli in Turkey now a thing that many Australians hope to do at least once. To see and attend services where it all began.

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

You have to be quick to see my Ollie Norths! Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard. Still shot from Braille Skateboarding's Ollie North tutorial. I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned. Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board. The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your

A.I. Can Now Create Art Based Upon Text Prompts - DALL-E 2 and CrAIyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

"a painting of a fox sitting in a field at sunrise in the style of Claude Monet” Image by DALL-E 2, OpenAI.com One thing people have often said is that machines will never replace creative artists because they lack the imagination and emotion required to create anything meaningful. A.I. technology is now good enough to work as writing assistants, including sites like Jasper and Rytr , where you simply tell the A.I. what you want to write about and it'll produce a complete article on that subject. The article may not be perfect but it can sure save you a lot of time. DALL-E 2: Realistic images and art from a description in natural language. With the release of DALL-E 2 there is now an A.I. that can produce realistic (or artistically styled) images based entirely on text prompts in seconds. We're not just talking about collaging a few images together here either. DALL-E 2 can create images where everything looks fairly seamless and purposefully included. Rather than me try

Artificial Intelligence, Chat Bots, and Sentient Machines - Where is my Robot Companion?

As fascinating and exciting as the world of robotics is companies like Boston Dynamics , Disney Imagineering , and Engineered Arts (which I wrote about their very human-like robot, Ameca , in my previous post ), have demonstrated it's very possible to create human like robots. That is, something along the lines of C3-PO from Star Wars , or Sonny from iRobot . Arguably, what isn't possible at this time, is creating a sentient robot i.e. something that can think for itself, develop its own ideas, and even have emotions.  I say 'arguably' because being 'sentient' is a somewhat relative term. If we're talking the equivalent of human sentience then current robots and artificial intelligences (A.I.) are a long way off. However, we can create robots that are capable of learning on their own.  You could, conceivably create a robot that starts out following its programming then, over time, learns behaviors and problem solving in ways never conceived by its creator

How to Start From Nothing - a Video by Sorelle Amore Finance About Starting Any Kind of Business

Sorelle Amore. It's the million dollar question for many people wanting to start a business who feel they don't have the knowledge, money, skills, time, or all four, "How do I start from nothing?" If that's something you want to know too then the video below by  Sorelle Amore , an Australian photographer and social media entrepreneur success story, who is most known for literally writing the book on how to take an #AdvancedSelfie, has an answer well worth considering. Just in case you feel advice from a professional selfie photographer couldn't possibly be meaningful Sorelle's journey to financial freedom in just two years is well worth looking into. One takeaway for me is that at age 28 she was broke, but turned things around and was a millionaire by age 30. While that's an exceptional result of quite a lot of hard work, writing books, building courses, and more, what it says to me is, it's possible to be financially secure in less than two years