Skip to main content
See if you can find the skateboarding santa.

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.

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

Course Review: YouTube for Bosses - Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to grow your YouTube Channel into a Business

YouTube for Bosses Free Mug...  or the most expensive mug  you'll ever buy? I've been subscribed to  Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube channel for a few years, learning a lot on how to grow a following on sites like YouTube and Instagram. If you have any interest in growing your own YouTube channel I'd highly recommend watching some of Sunny's videos on the subject.  Definitely explore her 2019 back catalogue for the most useful information. This year she's been on a bit of a 'being authentic' pivot that, personally, doesn't resonate all that much with me (but probably speaks volumes to anyone with similar experience). I'm not saying she shouldn't or isn't being authentic, it's just I didn't subscribe to hear stories about her life journey. To get back on track, Sunny runs a successful online business with her flagship course, YouTube for Bosses , a stand alone paid course that does act as something of a gateway to further paid (but opt

The Lego Man - He's got all that!

Who would have thought that owning one of the worlds largest, private Lego collections could take you so far. Tom Lucieer of Angaston, South Australia, not only has met the Queen (of England) but is a frequent guest of her majesty and family when they are in Australia. He's also met Prince Charles, Lady Diana and Camila Parker-Bowles. Not only that, he grew up with TV Vet, Dr Harry, and is a friend of the Irwin family (yes, that's Steve Irwin's family). Tom will happily tell you all this as part of the guided tour of his collection, which, aside from Lego, includes much railway memorabilia and colourful anecdotes about days gone by, his achievements and more. Frequently he will finish each particular monologue with the phrase, "Have you got that?", just to check that he hasn't confused you because, as he points out, his display and the stories behind it are a lot to take in at once. In the photo you can see Tom holding a special award, which I think is for b

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

Mother's Bed Art Board Print by TET. Available from RedBubble . How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for yourself. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you. Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age. Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen. Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an i

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured). At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop , Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self . As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside . Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme , was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2 , because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below. My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went now

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

Course Review: Passive Income for Graphic Designers - Sell Your Designs, Graphics, Fonts & More

Passive Income is that somewhat elusive idea of earning a living even while you're sleeping. Often considered a 'scam' term used by charismatic marketers to sell you a dream of instant riches asterixed with, in very tiny print "results may vary". Passive Income Course for Graphic Designers is a Udemy course by Skybox Creative (a.k.a. designer, Angelina Samadhi) that guides you through the actual work you need to do (a point that is often glossed over by those charismatic marketers) to create a passive income business selling digital art and design products online. Note that I am an Udemy Affiliate and links within this article to the course are affiliate links. You don't have to use them but it does help keep this site free. Having said that, Passive Income for Graphic Designers is a course I have completed in full, not simply to write a review, but to actually learn from Angelina's experience... because I'm definitely not earning a living from affil