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Water 2015, 7(11), 6285-6300; doi:10.3390/w7116285

Designing Rainwater Harvesting Systems Cost-Effectively in a Urban Water-Energy Saving Scheme by Using a GIS-Simulation Based Design System

1
Center for General Education, Tzu-Chi University, No.701, Zhongyang Rd., Sec.3, Hualien 97004, Taiwan
2
Department of Leisure and Recreation Studies, Aletheia University, No.70-11 Pei-Shi Liao, Matou, Tainan 72147, Taiwan
3
Center for General Education, Tzu-Chi University, No.701, Zhongyang Rd., Sec.3, Hualien 97004, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ataur Rahman
Received: 20 September 2015 / Revised: 30 October 2015 / Accepted: 3 November 2015 / Published: 10 November 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [838 KB, uploaded 10 November 2015]   |  

Abstract

Current centralized urban water supply depends largely on energy consumption, creating critical water-energy challenge especially for many rapid growing Asian cities. In this context, harvesting rooftop rainwater for non-potable use has enormous potential to ease the worsening water-energy issue. For this, we propose a geographic information system (GIS)-simulation-based design system (GSBDS) to explore how rainwater harvesting systems (RWHSs) can be systematically and cost-effectively designed as an innovative water-energy conservation scheme on a city scale. This GSBDS integrated a rainfall data base, water balance model, spatial technologies, energy-saving investigation, and economic feasibility analysis based on a case study of eight communities in the Taipei metropolitan area, Taiwan. Addressing both the temporal and spatial variations in rainfall, the GSBDS enhanced the broad application of RWHS evaluations. The results indicate that the scheme is feasible based on the optimal design when both water and energy-savings are evaluated. RWHSs were observed to be cost-effective and facilitated 21.6% domestic water-use savings, and 138.6 (kWh/year-family) energy-savings. Furthermore, the cost of per unit-energy-saving is lower than that from solar PV systems in 85% of the RWHS settings. Hence, RWHSs not only enable water-savings, but are also an alternative renewable energy-saving approach that can address the water-energy dilemma caused by rapid urbanization. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic feasibility; energy saving; geographic information system GIS; rainwater harvesting; water resources conservation economic feasibility; energy saving; geographic information system GIS; rainwater harvesting; water resources conservation
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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Chiu, Y.-R.; Tsai, Y.-L.; Chiang, Y.-C. Designing Rainwater Harvesting Systems Cost-Effectively in a Urban Water-Energy Saving Scheme by Using a GIS-Simulation Based Design System. Water 2015, 7, 6285-6300.

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