Environment Ministry’s water tank rebates program triggers enormous interest

Photo: Štěpánka Budková

The Environment Ministry’s water tank rebates program which should launch a policy of rainwater harvesting and utilization has proved hugely successful with the public. People scrambled to respond to a call for subsidies on Monday, with the day’s requests practically exhausting the ministry’s fund for this year.

Photo: Štěpánka Budková
With temperature fluctuations and increasingly frequent periods of drought the government has started to make preparations for saving water and creating more local water reserves that can be drawn on when water is in short supply. The Ministry of Environment recently announced a water tank rebates program, earmarking 100 million crowns to be used in subsidies for homeowners willing to install rainwater tanks to be used for watering gardens, flushing toilets and other household needs instead of drawing on public supplies.

The requests can only be made electronically and will be processed and assessed by the State Fund for the Environment. One family can get up to 105 thousand crowns in subsidies and will need to prove that the money has been spent as stated. As with subsidies for environmentally friendly stoves, the program triggered overwhelming interest. In the first two hours after it officially opened the State Fund for the Environment received 800 requests which, if approved, would exhaust the money earmarked for the program in its first phase.

The Environment Ministry has welcomed the interest and is hoping that Czechs will be receptive to the increasingly urgent need for better water management. Until now people have felt scant concern regarding the enormous amount of clear water wasted. According to the ministry’s data the inhabitants of Prague alone spend 12 billion liters of drinking water in the course of a single year just flushing toilets –an amount that could quench the thirst of Europe’s inhabitants over a period of five days.