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Water 2018, 10(2), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10020147

Improving the Multi-Objective Performance of Rainwater Harvesting Systems Using Real-Time Control Technology

1
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, 500 Yarra Boulevard, Burnley, VIC 3121, Australia
2
Melbourne Water Corporation, 990 La Trobe Street, Docklands, VIC 3008, Australia
3
South East Water Corporation, 101 Wells Street, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Alternative Water Sources in the Urban Sector)
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Abstract

Many studies have identified the potential of rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems to simultaneously augment potable water supply and reduce delivery of uncontrolled stormwater flows to downstream drainage networks. Potentially, such systems could also play a role in the controlled delivery of water to urban streams in ways which mimic baseflows. The performance of RWH systems to achieve these three objectives could be enhanced using Real-Time Control (RTC) technology to receive rainfall forecasts and initiate pre-storm release in real time, although few studies have explored such potential. We used continuous simulation to model the ability of a range of allotment-scale RWH systems to simultaneously deliver: (i) water supply; (ii) stormwater retention; and (iii) baseflow restoration. We compared the performance of RWH systems with RTC technology to conventional RWH systems and also systems designed with a passive baseflow release, rather than the active (RTC) configuration. We found that RWH systems employing RTC technology were generally superior in simultaneously achieving water supply, stormwater retention and baseflow restoration benefits compared with the other types of system tested. The active operation provided by RTC allows the system to perform optimally across a wider range of climatic conditions, but needs to be carefully designed. We conclude that the active release mechanism employing RTC technology exhibits great promise; its ability to provide centralised control and failure detection also opens the possibility of delivering a more reliable rainwater harvesting system, which can be readily adapted to varying climate over both the short and long term. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainwater harvesting system; real-time control; baseflow restoration; water supply; stormwater retention; continuous simulation rainwater harvesting system; real-time control; baseflow restoration; water supply; stormwater retention; continuous simulation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xu, W.D.; Fletcher, T.D.; Duncan, H.P.; Bergmann, D.J.; Breman, J.; Burns, M.J. Improving the Multi-Objective Performance of Rainwater Harvesting Systems Using Real-Time Control Technology. Water 2018, 10, 147.

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