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Rainwater harvesting at urban land development scale: Mimicking nature to achieve sustainability

Ho, G., Anda, M. and Hunt, J. (2008) Rainwater harvesting at urban land development scale: Mimicking nature to achieve sustainability. In: Proceedings of the IWA World Water Congress, 7 - 12 September, Vienna, Austria

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Abstract

Rainwater harvesting plays an important role in water management to achieve sustainability, because rainwater can provide water not only for drinking purposes but also other indoor and outdoor uses. At a single household level the usefulness of rainwater harvesting has been well demonstrated. At a land development scale (real estate development) consisting of residential, commercial, recreational and other land uses there is greater opportunity to achieve sustainability goals by integrating rainwater harvesting with water reuse and recycling to close the water cycle at the local level. A crucial issue is the efficient use of the harvested rainwater and the proportion of rainfall precipitation that could be safely and economically harvested.

We have developed a water use performance rating system for land developments to assess their water use against best practice. An element of the rating system is water input to the land development from rainwater harvesting. Other water inputs are from scheme water and groundwater. Outputs are to the sewer, ground, stream and evaporation/evapotranspiration. The inputs and outputs establish the water balance and the volume of water used. Giving weighting factors for the use of each input source and output sink, together with the volume of each,
provides a means to rate water use efficiency of the land development. For the rainwater input and output we suggest that mimicking the natural local hydrological conditions provide the best initial estimates for best practice in keeping with the goal of achieving sustainability. The
application of the rating system and the applicability of the concept of mimicking the natural hydrological conditions for rainwater have been tested in three land development case studies.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Environmental Technology Centre
Copyright: © IWA Publishing
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/20967
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