Rainwater Harvesting: Quantity, Quality, Economics and State Regulations

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2017) | Viewed by 122618

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Guest Editor
School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, Western Sydney University, Sydney 2747, Australia
Interests: hydrology; rainfall runoff; rainwater harvesting; flood; water demand forecasting; water sensitive urban design; water quality
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is the most popular alternative water source in many urban, peri-urban, and rural areas. Although rainwater is fresh in nature, it gets polluted from atmospheric contaminants, roof catchments, and the RWH system itself. The research questions which are the most relevant to RWH system include the optimum rainwater tank size for a given location and set of users, water quality from a RWH system, financial viability of a RWH system, and state regulations on the use of water from a RWH system. You are invited to submit a technical paper to this Special Issue of Water on these aspects of a RWH system.

Dr. Ataur Rahman
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • rainwater
  • rainwater harvesting
  • alternative water supply
  • rainwater quality
  • water cycle management
  • rainwater economics
  • water regulations

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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178 KiB  
Editorial
Recent Advances in Modelling and Implementation of Rainwater Harvesting Systems towards Sustainable Development
by Ataur Rahman
Water 2017, 9(12), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9120959 - 8 Dec 2017
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 9380
Abstract
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is perhaps the most ancient practice to meet water supply needs. It has received renewed attention since the 1970s as a productive water source, water savings and conservation means, and sustainable development tool. In RWH, it is important to know [...] Read more.
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is perhaps the most ancient practice to meet water supply needs. It has received renewed attention since the 1970s as a productive water source, water savings and conservation means, and sustainable development tool. In RWH, it is important to know how much water can be harvested at a given location from a given catchment size, whether the harvested water meets the intended water quality, whether the RWH system is economically viable and whether the state regulations favor the RWH. Furthermore, the selected RWH system should be suitable to local rainfall and field conditions, downstream impacts, and socio-economic and cultural characteristics. In this regard, this paper provides an overview of the special issue on “Rainwater Harvesting: Quantity, Quality, Economics and State Regulations”. The selected papers cover a wide range of issues that are relevant to RWH such as regionalization of design curves, use of spatial technology, urban agriculture, arid-region water supply, multi criteria analysis and application of artificial neural networks. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

6267 KiB  
Article
Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting for Mombasa: Scenario Development with Image Classification and Water Resources Simulation
by Robert O. Ojwang, Jörg Dietrich, Prajna Kasargodu Anebagilu, Matthias Beyer and Franz Rottensteiner
Water 2017, 9(5), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9050359 - 20 May 2017
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 12771
Abstract
Mombasa faces severe water scarcity problems. The existing supply is unable to satisfy the demand. This article demonstrates the combination of satellite image analysis and modelling as tools for the development of an urban rainwater harvesting policy. For developing a sustainable remedy policy, [...] Read more.
Mombasa faces severe water scarcity problems. The existing supply is unable to satisfy the demand. This article demonstrates the combination of satellite image analysis and modelling as tools for the development of an urban rainwater harvesting policy. For developing a sustainable remedy policy, rooftop rainwater harvesting (RRWH) strategies were implemented into the water supply and demand model WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning System). Roof areas were detected using supervised image classification. Future population growth, improved living standards, and climate change predictions until 2035 were combined with four management strategies. Image classification techniques were able to detect roof areas with acceptable accuracy. The simulated annual yield of RRWH ranged from 2.3 to 23 million cubic meters (MCM) depending on the extent of the roof area. Apart from potential RRWH, additional sources of water are required for full demand coverage. Full article
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2902 KiB  
Article
A Methodology to Assess and Evaluate Rainwater Harvesting Techniques in (Semi-) Arid Regions
by Ammar Adham, Michel Riksen, Mohamed Ouessar and Coen J. Ritsema
Water 2016, 8(5), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8050198 - 13 May 2016
Cited by 69 | Viewed by 26536
Abstract
Arid and semi-arid regions around the world face water scarcity problems due to lack of precipitation and unpredictable rainfall patterns. For thousands of years, rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques have been applied to cope with water scarcity. Researchers have used many different methodologies for [...] Read more.
Arid and semi-arid regions around the world face water scarcity problems due to lack of precipitation and unpredictable rainfall patterns. For thousands of years, rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques have been applied to cope with water scarcity. Researchers have used many different methodologies for determining suitable sites and techniques for RWH. However, limited attention has been given to the evaluation of RWH structure performance. The aim of this research was to design a scientifically-based, generally applicable methodology to better evaluate the performance of existing RWH techniques in (semi-) arid regions. The methodology integrates engineering, biophysical and socio-economic criteria using the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) supported by the Geographic Information System (GIS). Jessour/Tabias are the most traditional RWH techniques in the Oum Zessar watershed in south-eastern Tunisia, which were used to test this evaluation tool. Fifty-eight RWH locations (14 jessr and 44 tabia) in three main sub-catchments of the watershed were assessed and evaluated. Based on the criteria selected, more than 95% of the assessed sites received low or moderate suitability scores, with only two sites receiving high suitability scores. This integrated methodology, which is highly flexible, saves time and costs, is easy to adapt to different regions and can support designers and decision makers aiming to improve the performance of existing and new RWH sites. Full article
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2254 KiB  
Article
Assessing Marginalized Communities in Mexico for Implementation of Rainwater Catchment Systems
by Gerardo Sámano-Romero, Marina Mautner, Alma Chávez-Mejía and Blanca Jiménez-Cisneros
Water 2016, 8(4), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040140 - 8 Apr 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6892
Abstract
Mexico contains a high percentage of marginalized communities, as well as geographic areas with high annual precipitation (approximately 2000 mm). This study uses regional water access and precipitation data to determine municipalities that would most benefit from the installation of Domestic Rain Water [...] Read more.
Mexico contains a high percentage of marginalized communities, as well as geographic areas with high annual precipitation (approximately 2000 mm). This study uses regional water access and precipitation data to determine municipalities that would most benefit from the installation of Domestic Rain Water Harvesting Systems (DRWHS). The main objective was to find a relationship between local conditions (marginalization, expected level of service, and precipitation) and the physical components of DRWHS. First, monthly precipitation and the number of inhabitants per household were determined for each municipality. Catchment area and tank size were then calculated for a single dwelling by municipality using water demand, run-off coefficient, monthly precipitation, and number of inhabitants per household. In general, municipalities with very low access to municipal water and very high precipitation were found in the southern area of the country. A curve that estimates catchment area based on annual precipitation was developed using the selected municipalities, which produced an average catchment area of 113.3 m2 for a water demand of 100 L/capita/day. While any DRWHS must be designed specific to local conditions, this study has determined that a regional approximation can be used to select ideal communities for these systems, which can in turn facilitate national implementation. Full article
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2679 KiB  
Article
Rainwater Harvesting Typologies for UK Houses: A Multi Criteria Analysis of System Configurations
by Peter Melville-Shreeve, Sarah Ward and David Butler
Water 2016, 8(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040129 - 1 Apr 2016
Cited by 81 | Viewed by 17888
Abstract
Academic research and technological innovation associated with rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems in the UK has seen a shift of emphasis in recent years. Traditional design approaches use whole life cost assessments that prioritise financial savings associated with the provision of an alternative water [...] Read more.
Academic research and technological innovation associated with rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems in the UK has seen a shift of emphasis in recent years. Traditional design approaches use whole life cost assessments that prioritise financial savings associated with the provision of an alternative water supply. However, researchers and practitioners are increasingly recognising broader benefits associated with rainwater reuse, such as stormwater attenuation benefits. This paper identifies and describes a set of novel RWH system configurations that have potential for deployment in UK houses. Conceptual schematics are provided to define these innovations alongside traditional configurations. Discussion of the drivers supporting these configurations illustrates the opportunities for RWH deployment in a wide range of settings. A quantitative multi criteria analysis was used to evaluate and score the configurations under a range of emerging criteria. The work identifies several RWH system configurations that can outperform traditional ones in terms of specified cost and benefits. Selection of a specific RWH technology is shown to be highly dependent on user priorities. It is proposed that the system configurations highlighted could enable RWH to be cost-effectively installed in a broad set of contexts that have experienced minimal exploitation to date. Full article
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3465 KiB  
Article
A Reliability Analysis of a Rainfall Harvesting System in Southern Italy
by Lorena Liuzzo, Vincenza Notaro and Gabriele Freni
Water 2016, 8(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8010018 - 8 Jan 2016
Cited by 51 | Viewed by 9342
Abstract
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) may be an effective alternative water supply solution in regions affected by water scarcity. It has recently become a particularly important option in arid and semi-arid areas (like Mediterranean basins), mostly because of its many benefits and affordable costs. This [...] Read more.
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) may be an effective alternative water supply solution in regions affected by water scarcity. It has recently become a particularly important option in arid and semi-arid areas (like Mediterranean basins), mostly because of its many benefits and affordable costs. This study provides an analysis of the reliability of using a rainwater harvesting system to supply water for toilet flushing and garden irrigation purposes, with reference to a single-family home in a residential area of Sicily (Southern Italy). A flushing water demand pattern was evaluated using water consumption data collected from a sample of residential customers during an extended measurement campaign. A daily water balance simulation of the rainwater storage tank was performed, and the yield-after-spillage algorithm was used to define the tank release rule. The model’s performance was evaluated using rainfall data from more than 100 different sites located throughout the Sicilian territory. This regional analysis provided annual reliability curves for the system as a function of mean annual precipitation, which have practical applications in this area of study. The uncertainty related to the regional model predictions was also assessed. A cost-benefit analysis highlighted that the implementation of a rainwater harvesting system in Sicily can provide environmental and economic advantages over traditional water supply methods. In particular, the regional analysis identified areas where the application of this system would be most effective. Full article
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978 KiB  
Article
Identification of Decisive Factors Determining the Continued Use of Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Agriculture Irrigation in Beijing
by Xiao Liang and Meine Pieter Van Dijk
Water 2016, 8(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8010007 - 25 Dec 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5881
Abstract
The success or failure of operating a rainwater harvesting system (RWH) depends on both technological and non-technological factors. The importance of non-technological factors in attaining sustainable RWH operation is rarely emphasized. This study aims to assess the contribution of non-technological factors through determining [...] Read more.
The success or failure of operating a rainwater harvesting system (RWH) depends on both technological and non-technological factors. The importance of non-technological factors in attaining sustainable RWH operation is rarely emphasized. This study aims to assess the contribution of non-technological factors through determining decisive factors involved in the use of RWHs for agriculture irrigation in Beijing. The RWHs for agriculture irrigation in Beijing are not operating as well as expected. If the decisive factors are identified to be non-technological, the significance of non-technological factors will be highlighted. Firstly, 10 impact factors comprising non-technological and technological factors are selected according to both a literature review and interviews with RWH managers. Following this, through an artificial data mining method, rough set analysis, the decisive factors are identified. Results show that two non-technological factors, “doubts about rainwater quality” and “the availability of groundwater” determine whether these systems will continue or cease RWH operation in Beijing. It is, thus, considered necessary to improve public confidence in and motivation on using rainwater for agriculture irrigation, as this is the main obstacle in the sustainable and successful operation of RWHs. Through a case study of RWHs in Beijing, the study verifies the importance of acknowledging non-technological factors to achieve sustainable water management and considers that such factors should receive more attention by decision makers and researchers. Full article
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838 KiB  
Article
Designing Rainwater Harvesting Systems Cost-Effectively in a Urban Water-Energy Saving Scheme by Using a GIS-Simulation Based Design System
by Yie-Ru Chiu, Yao-Lung Tsai and Yun-Chih Chiang
Water 2015, 7(11), 6285-6300; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7116285 - 10 Nov 2015
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 11876
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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2479 KiB  
Article
Optimal Spatial Design of Capacity and Quantity of Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Urban Flood Mitigation
by Chien-Lin Huang, Nien-Sheng Hsu, Chih-Chiang Wei and Wei-Jiun Luo
Water 2015, 7(9), 5173-5202; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7095173 - 23 Sep 2015
Cited by 61 | Viewed by 11036
Abstract
This study adopts rainwater harvesting systems (RWHS) into a stormwater runoff management model (SWMM) for the spatial design of capacities and quantities of rain barrel for urban flood mitigation. A simulation-optimization model is proposed for effectively identifying the optimal design. First of all, [...] Read more.
This study adopts rainwater harvesting systems (RWHS) into a stormwater runoff management model (SWMM) for the spatial design of capacities and quantities of rain barrel for urban flood mitigation. A simulation-optimization model is proposed for effectively identifying the optimal design. First of all, we particularly classified the characteristic zonal subregions for spatial design by using fuzzy C-means clustering with the investigated data of urban roof, land use and drainage system. In the simulation method, a series of regular spatial arrangements specification are designed by using statistical quartiles analysis for rooftop area and rainfall frequency analysis; accordingly, the corresponding reduced flooding circumstances can be simulated by SWMM. Moreover, the most effective solution for the simulation method is identified from the calculated net benefit, which is equivalent to the subtraction of the facility cost from the decreased inundation loss. It serves as the initially identified solution for the optimization model. In the optimization method, backpropagation neural network (BPNN) are first applied for developing a water level simulation model of urban drainage systems to substitute for SWMM to conform to newly considered interdisciplinary multi-objective optimization model, and a tabu search-based algorithm is used with the embedded BPNN-based SWMM to optimize the planning solution. The developed method is applied to the Zhong-He District, Taiwan. Results demonstrate that the application of tabu search and the BPNN-based simulation model into the optimization model can effectively, accurately and fast search optimal design considering economic net benefit. Furthermore, the optimized spatial rain barrel design could reduce 72% of inundation losses according to the simulated flood events. Full article
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1270 KiB  
Article
Estimating the Rainwater Potential per Household in an Urban Area: Case Study in Central Mexico
by Liliana Lizárraga-Mendiola, Gabriela Vázquez-Rodríguez, Alberto Blanco-Piñón, Yamile Rangel-Martínez and María González-Sandoval
Water 2015, 7(9), 4622-4637; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7094622 - 27 Aug 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5816
Abstract
In cities with problems of aridity and a shortage of drinking water supply, there is an urgent need to establish alternatives for an adequate water management program. This study proposes an estimation through which users can select a rainwater harvesting system for non-drinking [...] Read more.
In cities with problems of aridity and a shortage of drinking water supply, there is an urgent need to establish alternatives for an adequate water management program. This study proposes an estimation through which users can select a rainwater harvesting system for non-drinking water consumption. For the cities of Pachuca and Mineral de la Reforma, State of Hidalgo, Central Mexico, the historical record of rainfall analyzed covers a period of 33 years (1980–2013). We calculated the monthly volume of rainwater harvestable from roof areas (VR, m3) with household roof areas (Hra) of 45 m2, 50 m2, 100 m2 and 200 m2. It is proposed to replace in each single house the flush toilets and washing machine with ecological devices with consumptions of 4.8 L/flush and 70 L/load, respectively. Furthermore, a maximum and a minimum consumption of eight and six flushes/day/person (flush toilets) and five and four loads/week (washing machine), respectively, are proposed. From these considerations, our estimations of the harvestable rainwater showed that households with Hra of 45 m2 and 50 m2 would depend on the water supply system of the public network during part of the year. On the other hand, households with Hra of 100 m2 and 200 m2 might be able to store enough water to meet other needs besides toilet flushing and laundry. Full article
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