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Water 2019, 11(3), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030511

Rainwater Harvesting for Drinking Water Production: A Sustainable and Cost-Effective Solution in The Netherlands?

1
KWR Watercycle Research Institute, P.O. Box 1072, 3430 BB Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Water Innovation and Research Centre, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
3
Waternet (Public Water Utility of Amsterdam and Regional Water Authority Amstel, Gooi and Vecht), Postbus 94370, 1090 GJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4
Department of Water Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5, 2600 AA Delft, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 January 2019 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Challenges of Water Management and Governance in Cities)
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Abstract

An increasing number of people want to reduce their environmental footprint by using harvested rainwater as a source for drinking water. Moreover, implementing rainwater harvesting (RWH) enables protection against damage caused by increasing precipitation frequency and intensity, which is predicted for Western Europe. In this study, literature data on rainwater quality were reviewed, and based on Dutch climatological data the usable quantity of rainwater in the Netherlands was calculated. For two specific cases, (1) a densely populated city district and (2) a single house in a rural area, the total costs of ownership (TCO) for decentralized drinking water supply from harvested rainwater was calculated, and a life cycle assessment (LCA) was made. For the single house it was found that costs were very high (€60–€110/m3), and the environmental impact would not decrease. For the city district, costs would be comparable to the present costs of centralized drinking water production and supply, but the environmental benefit is negligible (≤1‰). Furthermore, it was found that the amount of rainwater that can be harvested in the city district only covers about 50% of the demand. It was concluded that the application of rainwater harvesting for drinking water production in the Netherlands is not economically feasible. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainwater harvesting; footprint; lifecycle analysis; total cost of ownership; sustainability; urban water management; drinking water rainwater harvesting; footprint; lifecycle analysis; total cost of ownership; sustainability; urban water management; drinking water
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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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Hofman-Caris, R.; Bertelkamp, C.; de Waal, L.; van den Brand, T.; Hofman, J.; van der Aa, R.; van der Hoek, J.P. Rainwater Harvesting for Drinking Water Production: A Sustainable and Cost-Effective Solution in The Netherlands? Water 2019, 11, 511.

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