Marrickville rainwater tank scheme to target low income households

Article image - Marrickville rainwater tank scheme to target low income households

Marrickville Council’s successful Rainwater Tank Incentive Scheme will be expanded to target people on low incomes, those that live in multi unit dwellings (MUDs) and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Located in Sydney’s inner west, less than ten kilometres from the CBD, Marrickville has a population of more than 75,000 people.

The area’s background has traditionally been working class, but several waves of immigration and a continuing trend of gentrification have substantially influenced the demographics and character of the area.

Marrickville also has a substantial student population, being situated relatively close to the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney.

Since the Rainwater Tank Incentive Scheme was introduced in 2008, a total of 35 rebates up to $2,000 have been paid. These rebates are in addition to those from Sydney Water and the Australian Government, which can add up to $4,000.

Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskandar said that to date, mostly owner/occupiers of households have applied for the rebate.

“Following the first review of the Scheme, Council has decided to increase by 50 per cent the current rebate for low income households, and introduce a flat rate rebate of $500 for MUDs on top of the standard rebate,” he said.

“Council will also initiate a series of rainwater harvesting workshops targeting culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“This expansion of the scheme reflects Council’s recently adopted green equity policy, which aims to assist lower income and disadvantaged residents across the municipality address the impacts of climate change.”

Mayor Iskandar said Council is keen to make rainwater tanks more attractive and accessible to low income households for several reasons.

“Low income households are less likely to own highly efficient whitegoods or live in housing with special design features that reduce the use of energy and water,” he said.

“They should not be denied the opportunity to respond to climate change and the sustainability movement because of a lack of funds.

“Rainwater tanks reduce household bills – one resident has reported saving $80 off their quarterly water bill after installing a tank.

“As the prices for energy, water, food and transport escalate because of climate change, less well off people will struggle to pay these higher prices – a fact recognised by both the Garnaut report and the Australian Government.”

The Rainwater Tank Incentive Scheme is wholly funded by the Stormwater Management Service Charge, a charge optional to councils under the NSW Local Government Act, reflecting the need for ongoing funding for stormwater management.

The Rainwater Tank Incentive Scheme for multi unit dwellings and low income households will be complemented by a No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS), which offers small loans of $800 to $1,200 to low income households for essential energy and water efficient household goods.

For further information contact Marrickville Council on (02) 9335 2222 or email water@marrickville.nsw.gov.au