Yes, rainwater is taxed—but only when collected in large amounts

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

Surprisingly enough, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) charges levies for collecting rainwater. However, it’s not the collection in itself that is the issue, but how much water is collected determines the levy.

Last year, netizen Brendan Chong posted a screenshot on Facebook where in the question, “Can we collect our own rainwater and use it for our own usage?” was asked.

Photo: Facebook / Brendan Chong

To which, the reply given stated that if the vessel for collecting the rainwater is larger than 20 cubic meters, a waterborne fee (WBF) would be levied.

So, while collecting rainwater is allowed, a charge would be made should the rainwater exceed a certain amount, due to costs of treatment and disposal of the rainwater into sewers.

This seems to defy logic, since rainwater naturally flows into sewers anyway, whether or not it is collected by people.

However, it is the volume of collected rainwater that must be taken into consideration here, since only the excess of 20 cubic meters will be charged a fee. This is equivalent to 20,000 liters of water. And since the per capita domestic consumption of water is only at around 150 liters a day, it’s highly unlikely that the PUB’s regulations would affect everyday Singaporeans.

Industries and factories are far more likely to be affected by this, since regular households will not need to collect this much rainwater at all.

As netizen Audi Khalid said, “If you collect 20 thousand liters of water you deserve to be taxed.”

This sentiment was echoed by another netizen, Yanpeng Si.