Management of urban stormwater to mitigate Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) is a priority for many cities; yet, few truly innovative approaches have been proposed to address the problem. Recent advances in information technology are now, however, providing cost-effective opportunities to achieve better performance of conventional stormwater infrastructure through a Continuous Monitoring and Adaptive Control (CMAC) approach. The primary objective of this study was to demonstrate that a CMAC approach can be applied to a conventional rainwater harvesting system in New York City to improve performance by minimizing discharge to the combined sewer during rainfall events, reducing water use for irrigation of local vegetation, and optimizing vegetation health. To achieve this objective, a hydrologic and hydraulic model was developed for a planned and designed rainwater harvesting system to explore multiple potential scenarios prior to the system’s actual construction. Model results indicate that the CMAC rainwater harvesting system is expected to provide significant performance improvements over conventional rainwater harvesting systems. The CMAC system is expected to capture and retain 76.6% of roof runoff per year on average, as compared to just 14.8% and 41.3% for conventional moisture and timer based systems, respectively. Similarly, the CMAC system is expected to use 81.4% and 18.0% less harvested rainwater than conventional moisture and timer based irrigation approaches, respectively. The flexibility of the CMAC approach to meet competing objectives is promising for widespread implementation in New York City and other heavily urbanized areas challenged by stormwater management issues.
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