Specifications of Rain Barrels and Cisterns - General short article on how to build low cost rain barrels. Developed for developing countries but applicable to anyone who just wants to build a low-cost starter system.
Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting - Great online publication that gives an A to Z overview of rainwater systems. Some information is specific to Texas, but most of the information is extremely useful to all systems.
Advanced Rainwater Systems - Want to read latest research from around the world or understand the math. This section is for you.
Harvesting Rainwater for Landscape Use - An Arizona Department of Water Resources publication. It covers from simple to complex system with specific examples and data for Arizona. The manual includes rainfall data for Phoenix and Tucson and a section on calculating water needs.
Rainwater Harvesting in Rural Areas - This website/paper outlines the use of rainwater harvesting for drinking purposes and agriculture, especially in semi-arid regions like the Brazilian Semi-Arid Tropics.
Rainwater Harvesting Incentives - A listing, by state, of all known incentives for rainwater collection. The list also includes some incentives for greywater, water conservation and storm water.
Rainwater Harvesting - Technical Brief - This paper published by WaterAid outlines the use and building of ferrocement jars and cisterns for low-cost rainwater harvesting for drinking purposes and agriculture in arid regions and poorer regions of the world.
How to Guides - Save time and money by using these guides. Guides on Building a Floating Filter, Properly Sizing Gutters, and Sizing the Cistern, based on Supply and Demand.
Rainwater Research- With the growth of rainwater harvesting, universities and research organizations around the world are performing indepth research in to various aspects of rainwater harvesting systems. This section of the website lists some of the latest research from around the world.
Assessment of rainfall variability, rainwater harvesting potential and storage requirements - Rainfall variability with periodicity of 5-6 years has been demonstrated for our study area and may be attributed to tropical and extratropical factors which operate during different months, seasons and years. Rainfall variability in terms of coefficient of variation ranges from 24-39% and 26-41% for the seasons and months. Domestic rainwater harvesting has the potential to meet 27.51% -54.91% of non-potable household water demand as well as 78.34% -156.38% of household potable water demand for a six-member household. It is highly encouraged as a supplementary water source especially in rural and peri-urban areas to reduce their vulnerability to acute shortage of water infrastructure. >> more
Canadian Rainwater Harvesting and Grey Water Reuse - Many countries, including some regions in Canada, have a limited amount of water that can be economically delivered to residences as potable water. Limiting factors may be regional, seasonal, remote or urban. They may also relate to the ambient quality of available water and the technology available to treat the water. To help meet water demand, rainwater harvesting and grey water practices are commonly used in several European countries, as well as some others, whereas they are less frequently employed in North America and effectively prohibited by regulation or custom. To better understand current practices in North America and elsewhere, the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), on behalf of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), undertook to review practices involving water reuse in residential and other buildings. This included looking at regulations and standards governing non-potable water. >> more
Capturing Rainwater from Rooftops - An Efficient Water Resource Management Strategy that Increases Supply and Reduces Pollution. Many communities in the United States face serious threats to a safe, steady supply of water. These include a longstanding reliance on centralized water delivery systems that results in urban areas and agencies largely overlooking opportunities to integrate alternate local sources of water to meet their water supply needs; the unnecessary use of potable water for non-potable uses, such as outdoor landscape irrigation and indoor toilet flushing; climate change; and continually increasing areas of impervious surfaces in our landscape that result in stormwater runoff carrying pollution to our rivers, lakes, and beaches. Although the problems of water supply and water pollution can be complex, practical solutions for both are available now, such as capturing and using rainwater from rooftops. >> more
Evaluating the Feasibility and Developing Design Requirements and Tools for Large-scale Rainwater Harvesting in Ontario - Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is the process of collecting run-off rainwater from roof surfaces and storing it for later domestic use. Fuelled by a growing interest among homeowners and municipalities to conserve water and
improve stormwater management, RWH is rapidly becoming a major part of sustainable building practices across Canada. This Research Highlight describes a project carried out in anticipation of this growing trend by the University of Guelph School of Engineering in partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Canadian Water Network and several other private and public partners. The goal of the two-and-a-half year project was to investigate the feasibility of widespread residential rainwater harvesting in Ontario. >> more
Life Cycle Assessment of Domestic and Agricultural RWH Systems - A paper that compares the environmental impact and implications of rainwater harvesting systems and energy savings compared to conventional U.S. water delivery infrastructure including a full life-cycle assessment of domestic and agricultural systems. It shows these systems have advantage over the U.S. water delivery infrastructure in most cases; especially in minimal designs used. >> more
Making Rainwater Harvesting Mainstream - Rainwater harvesting (RWH) can become a mainstream sustainable water technology capable of meeting some of the challenges posed by rising water demand, flooding and climate change — but only if policymakers take immediate action, an academic study shows. Research by the University of Exeter’s Centre for Water Systems (CWS) has identified cost-effective policy recommendations that could break down some of the social and technical barriers inhibiting development of urban RWH systems in the UK. Interviews with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and surveys of householders revealed a clear willingness to adopt the use of RWH. However, businesses were deterred by a lack of information on how to implement the technology and a limited knowledge of available financial incentives. >> more
Plant Science - Effect of copper on growth in cucumber plants - Twenty-day-old cucumber plants were submitted to copper stress during 5 days. Leaf expansion rather than dry weight accumulation was the first target of copper inhibition. Despite of a higher copper accumulation in the second leaf (SL) rather than in the first (FL), photosynthesis decrease was more pronounced in the latter. Since leaf expansion declined, leaves became a weak sink and this might account for the observed accumulation of carbohydrates in leaves. This accumulation could induce a feedback inhibition of photosynthesis. The significant accumulation of starch and sucrose did not occur in roots and seemed to be confined to leaves. Copper was sequestered primarily in the roots.>> more
Rainwater Harvesting: A Holistic Approach for Sustainable Water Management in Built Environments - This article describes a holistic approach for planning and implementation of water infrastructure in built urban environments. The holistic approach is based on recognizing the links between all water on a site, from potable water to stormwater. The holistic approach facilitates sustainable management of water resources and water infrastructures. Rainwater harvesting system, defined as rooftop rainwater capture and use is a key component of developing a holistic approach for water management in urban environments. The topics discussed in the article include: 1) characteristics of urban runoff and potential impact of rooftop rainwater harvesting on stormwater drainage system, 2) characteristics of potable water systems and potential impacts rooftop rainwater harvesting and use on water and energy conservation, and 3) the status of groundwater systems in urban environments and potential advantages of rainwater harvesting in conjunction with groundwater recharge and storage. The article is concluded with potential impediments to implementing rainwater systems in urban environments.>> more
Rainwater Harvesting: A Qualitative an Quantitative Analysis - Water demand is increasing due to population growth, development and global weather change. Also, there is growing interest on applying sustainable solutions and green technology. Rainwater harvesting is a sustainable technique for using rainwater to meet the growing demand on water at both urban and rural areas. It is essential to assess the suitability of the rainwater for both potable and non-potable uses. In this study, a rainwater harvesting system was installed at the Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia in order to conduct qualitative and quantitative and qualitative analysis for the system. Quantitative analysis showed that on average, about 85% of the total daily demand can be obtained from the rainwear harvesting system. Also, the qualitative analysis show that the rainwater was slightly acidic (average pH=6.15). So, it is recommended to use the rainwater for non-potable purposes such as watering gardens, washing floors and flushing toilets. >>more
Rainwater Harvesting Typologies for UK Houses: A Multi Criteria Analysis of System Configurations - 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. >>more
Risk Analysis Approach to Rainwater Harvesting Systems - Urban rainwater reuse preserves water resources and promotes sustainable development in rapidly growing urban areas. The efficiency of a large number of urban water reuse systems, operating under different climate and demand conditions, is evaluated here on the base of a new risk analysis approach. Results obtained by probability analysis (PA) indicate that maximum efficiency in low demanding scenarios is above 0.5 and a threshold, distinguishing low from high demanding scenarios, indicates that in low demanding scenarios no significant improvement in performance may be attained by increasing the storage capacity of rainwater harvesting tanks. >> more
Roofing Materials’ Contributions to Storm-Water Runoff Pollution - Development in sensitive watersheds continues to pose environmental problems for receiving waters. One contributor to this long-term pollution is building and other construction materials. However, the long-term effect of many building materials on the environment has not been quantified due to limited testing of these materials prior to sales and installation. Laboratory “leach” testing of commercially available roofing materials by this research group indicated that the potential for release primarily nutrients, lighter hydrocarbons, pesticides, and metals is substantial. Testing of metals’ release from aged roofing panels also has shown that the potential for pollutant release still exists after 60 years. The data missing from a complete evaluation of many roofing materials is behavior over the lifespan of the material, including the critical period of initial exposure. The 2 years of runoff data from a pilot-scale testing of these materials indicated substantial concerns regarding zinc from uncoated galvanized metals and copper from treated woods in this early part of the materials’ lifespan, plus the potential for long-term nutrient releases in the runoff from several roofing types. >> more
Thinking Outside the Tank - As a water retention technique, rainwater harvesting has been around for thousands of years - and it will be around for as long as humans are. However, in recent years as systems have become more technology-based, muddled messages around their use have clouded the way in which rainwater harvesting is viewed in the UK. This report summarises the results of recent research undertaken at the University of Exeter.
Undertaken between 2007 and 2010, the Rainwater Harvesting in the UK (RWHUK) project, aimed to fill some of the socio-technical knowledge gaps in relation to rainwater harvesting system implementation and utilisation in the specific context of the UK. Although the UK was the focus, case studies and findings across the international RWH arena were drawn into the research, ensuring that it represents a global ‘state-of-the-art’ investigation into the technology. The research was undertaken at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Water Systems. It utilised a range of methods to collect, analyse and interpret data and evidence, from a number of local, national and international case studies.>> more
Water Quality Research Australia - Water Quality and Health Risks from Urban Rainwater Tanks - Overall the chemical water quality analysis shows that rainwater in Australia is soft water with low total dissolved solids or salts, which is in agreement with studies in other countries (Hontoria et al. 2003). Water from tanks in urban Australia is generally slightly acidic. One key finding of the study - Results obtained from rainwater tank studies described in this report showed that tank water is of relatively poor microbiological quality compared with conventional Australian urban water supplies. Furthermore, the detection of enteric bacterial pathogens, Campylobacter spp and Salmonella spp.>> more
Penn State Harrisburg - Rainwater Harvesting for Landscape Irrigation - One aspect of green engineering and sustainable design is how man interacts with the hydrologic cycle. This includes how stormwater runoff is managed and whether runoff is viewed as a waste product or an opportunity. Rainwater harvesting is a critical component in integrated urban water management. If rainwater harvesting barrels/collection tanks are widely distributed and used in conjunction with other water-sensitive development practices such as low impact development and/or conservation design, a substantial fraction of runoff can be removed from the drainage system.>> more
University of Exeter - Rainwater Harvesting in the UK - Current Practice and Future Trends - Rainwater harvesting (RWH), where nunoff from roofs and impervious areas is collected and utilised, is receiving renewed attention as an alternative water source. RWH requires less treatment than greywater recycling, if being used for non-potable demand such as toilet flushing. However, there are challenges to overcome in the promotion and implementation of RWH in the UK; it is a relatively unproven technology and there are still many concerns to be assuaged. Nevertheless, the situation is beginning to change with welcome moves coming from the Government, the UKRHA and housing developers themselves, in response to an increasingly challenging water resources situation. This paper will provide a brief introduction to RWH, along with an overview of the current and future prospects of the technology within the UK.>> more
Portland State University - Neighborhood Level Analysis of Rainwater Catchment - A recent research project by Brad Crowley, home-based cisterns were compared against the $1.4 billion “Big Pipe” program to upgrade the current Portland, OR combined storm water and sewer system. At stake is a way to reduce the estimated 2.8 billion gallons of raw sewage and stormwater that is dumped annually into the Willamette river. The study discovered that harvesting rainwater onsite may be a more cost-effective and environmentally sensitive approach to the public works projects. >> more
If you are interested in listing your research on this website, please email us.
Worldwide Information Sites - These sites and sample installations should give you plenty of ideas of what's possible.
American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) - The premiere organization in North America that educates and certifies Accredited Professionals in North America to design and install catchment systems. Also holds an annual conference and lists member vendors and professionals in the industry on their website.
EAUTARCIE- A European website dealing with rainwater harvesting and water from a philosphical view point.
European Rainwater Catchment Systems Association - ERCSA represents for Europe the interests of IRCSA (International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association), the global organization for promoting the utilization and values of rainwater harvesting.
International Rainwater Catchment System Association (IRCSA) - The International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (IRCSA) aims to promote and advance rainwater catchment systems technology with respect to planning, development, management, science, technology, research and education worldwide.
Rainwater Harvesting for Montana - If you are from Montana and interested in Catchment systems, this is the article for you. Covers the system basics and points you to courses at MontanaStateUniversity.
SearNet - Southern and East Africa Rainwater Network website containing useful links to projects within the member countries as well as general information links and stories.
West Virginia University (WVU) Water Tech Briefs - "Tech Briefs" are four-page fact sheets included in On Tap magazine produced by the National Environmental Services Center (NESC). Each fact sheet provides concise, technical information about a drinking water treatment technology or issue relevant to small systems.
Avant-Gardening - "You can grow" using gardening as a medium for creative expression and spiritual growth. Extensive sustainable organic gardening information, workshops, monthly newsletter, formal tea gardens, virtual tours, links/resources and more!
HDRA - A UK-based organization that researches and publishes the latest research dealing with organic gardens.
Organic Gardening Magazine - Magazine and website covering all the aspects of organic gardening. Site also has an online community for posting questions.
Watershed, River and Groundwater Conservation Organizations
Surfacewater and ground water are directly related and extremely critical to both our quantity and quality of US water. The following organizations are dedicated to preserving these precious and periled resources.
Waterkeepters of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 66 Briggsville, WI 53920
Water Institute - The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) established the WATER Institute (Watershed Advocacy, Training, Education, & Research) to promote understanding of the importance of healthy watersheds to healthy communities.
EarthToys- Alternative and Renewable Energy News, Emagazine and News.
Eco-Portal - An information gateway empowering the movement for environmental sustainability.
EcoSchool - Design - A web site that seeks to assist schools, and those who care about them, in transforming paved schoolyards into vibrant ecosystems for outdoor learning.
Frugal Country Living - Don't just dream about it - live the life of your dreams! A website full of creative living ideas, to help you live the good life - on the income you already have!
GreenHomeBuilding - A website featuring information on solar heating, renewable energy, water conservation, recycled materials and natural buildings.
Greenmatters - Quick access to tools, solutions, and examples that simplify the busy person's commitment to green living, e-activism and responsible consumerism.
Permaculture Institute - Learning Center for Practical Sustainability Skills. We teach dryland permaculture, beekeeping, watershed management, rainwater harvesting and natural building, with focus in Southwest and New Mexico.
Water Fun Facts- A list of fun facts about water. Linked to a set of not so fun facts about water
Clean Water Act- The primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the symbolic goals of eliminating releases to water of toxic amounts of toxic substances.
Earth Works Institute - A non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the integrity of the natural environment by developing and promoting models of natural systems to create sustainable, self sufficient communities. - A non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the integrity of the natural environment by developing and promoting models of natural systems to create sustainable, self sufficient communities.
EPA - WaterSense program website that list information on water saving devices, and a page with rebate information on different types of water using appliances and fixtures.
Residential Water Conservation - A site dedicated to water conservation. It has a section of the site with helpful information on conversing water with topics like: Why Should we Conserve? Conserving Water at Home. Water Tips and Tools. There is a very small overview of Rainwater Harvesting in the Tips and Tools section.
Water - Use it Wisely - A site that includes a water audit tool to help you determine how much water you really use.
Water Conservation and Reuse - Non-Profit Organizations
EPA WaterSense Program - The Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary program promoting water efficient appliances.
Isla Urbana - Work in Mexico to promote the uptake of rainwater harvesting and to learn to do it in the most effective way possible, seeking to develop to the point where rainwater harvesting can be incorporated effectively into the water infrastructure of our city.
Natural Resource Defense Council - One of the most effective environmental organization in the U.S. working to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places, including clean water.
Save the Rain - A 501 (c) (3) non profit organization that teaches people water starved areas to catch, store, clean and use the Rain as a sustainable water supply.
The Ocean Conservancy - Advocates for wild, and healthy oceans. The Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is the largest and most successful volunteer event of its kind.
WaterAid - An international charity dedicated to helping people escape the stranglehold of poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation.
WaterKeeper Alliance - A non-profit organization whose mission is that of a citizen watchdog for water resources. A WaterKeeper is a local full-time paid advocate responsible for keeping local waterways clean. The national organization provides a national and international voice for education, litigation and research, analysis and review of water-related issues.
WaterReuse - A non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the beneficial and efficient use of water resources through education, sound science, and technology using reclamation, recycling, reuse and desalination.
World Water Center- A non-profit organization whose function is to act as a clearinghouse for information related to water projects and activities on a worldwide basis and to provide a best practices rating system.
Water Energy Relationship- Water and energy are very related. As more and more research on water is completed this link is becoming clearer. The best way to save energy is to save water. Below are a few of the links on this topic.
Water Footprint - You might be amazed how much water you really use. This website is full of useful information, and also features a water footprint calculator.
Water Footprint Calculator - You fun calculator that just takes a few minutes to find out how much indirect water you consume, compared to the average comsumption rate.
Water: Why Care- Article on link between water and energy. Pumping water takes massive amounts of energy which generates air pollution. Save water, to save energy.