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Agriculture 2017, 7(6), 46; doi:10.3390/agriculture7060046

Exploring Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Potential for Food Production in Urban Areas

1
CREA—Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l‘Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, via Po 14, Roma 00198, Italy
2
DICEA—Sapienza Università di Roma, Via Eudossiana 18, Roma 00184, Italy
3
CROMA, Università degli studi ‘Roma3’, Via Ostiense 139, Roma 00154, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michelle Wirthensohn
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 25 May 2017
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Abstract

Homegrown fruits and vegetables are gaining popularity in many metropolitan areas with several facets connected to the wider urban agriculture phenomenon. At the same time, the relationship between urban food production and irrigation water is pivotal in terms of resource management. In this paper, we investigated water savings through the collection and use of harvestable rainwater from buildings’ rooftops to irrigate 2631 fruits and vegetables gardens in the urban area of Rome (Italy). The methodology makes use of existing geospatial data and data derived from satellite image classification to estimate food gardens’ irrigation requirements and harvestable rainwater from nearby buildings’ rooftops. The comparison of the annual harvestable rainwater with irrigation needs allowed for computing the proportion of water self-sufficient gardens as well as the amount of gardens whose water needs might be partially fulfilled with rainwater. Statistics were produced by land use type (horticulture, mixed crops, olive groves, orchards, and vineyards) and under the hypothesis that irrigation systems with low and high field application efficiency might be employed. We found that 19% and 33% of the gardens could be water self-sufficient for the low and high irrigation efficiency scenario, respectively. The remaining gardens, by using the available rainwater, could satisfy 22% (low efficiency) and 44% (high efficiency) of the water needs resulting in a reduction in the use of conventional water sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: rooftop rainwater harvesting; urban agriculture; irrigation water requirement; food garden; urban water management; object-oriented classification rooftop rainwater harvesting; urban agriculture; irrigation water requirement; food garden; urban water management; object-oriented classification
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Lupia, F.; Baiocchi, V.; Lelo, K.; Pulighe, G. Exploring Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Potential for Food Production in Urban Areas. Agriculture 2017, 7, 46.

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