Biodiversity / Food / Water

February 13, 2013


Applications for Rainwater Tank Subsidy Increase in Oita after Earthquake

Keywords: Local government Water 

Oita, Oita Prefecture, in southern Japan, started a subsidy program for the installation of rainwater storage facilities in fiscal 2007. The number of applicants for the subsidy program increased after the great earthquake in 2011. Citizen interest in rainwater tanks has grown because the stored water can be used not only as an emergency water source for fighting fires and drinking but also for day-to-day garden and property maintenance. The city increased its budget for the subsidy from 2.1 million yen (about U.S.$27,000) in fiscal 2011 to 2.6 million yen (about U.S.$34,000) in 2012. A total of 118 applications for the subsidy were filed by November 28, 2012, when the city stopped accepting applications because the budget limit had been reached.

The subsidy program applies to rainwater tanks with a capacity of 100 liters or more. It covers half of the installation cost up to 25,000 yen (about U.S.$320) for rainwater tank systems and 50,000 yen (about U.S.$650) for systems converted from old septic tanks. The program attracted 32 applications in fiscal 2007, 70 in 2008, and 77 in 2009 and 2010. In fiscal 2011, which started soon after the earthquake, 86 applications were filed within the first three months, when the annual budget limit was reached.

The number of inquiries about the program have increased and access to the city's website has grown since a newspaper article featured a citizen who installed a rainwater tank. The city plans to review the program and its budget to promote the use of rainwater.

Related JFS article:
Rainwater Tanks for Environmental Education in Primary School