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CE298 Project Writeup Sujan Maharjan

Feasibility study of application of residential rainwater harvesting: A waterenergy nexus approach


Background
Brief history of Rainwater Harvesting Rainwater harvesting(RWH) and storage for beneficial use is not a new technology. Small dams for storage of runoff for agricultural purposes can be traced back to early history. An example of this are the rice terraces in the Philippines. In use for thousands of years, they still prove to be an efficient technique today. The use of earth dams to control runoff was also known in ancient Egypt. Archaeologists found a sophisticated rainwater collection and storage system on the island of Crete from 1700 B.C. while working on the reconstruction of the Palace of Knossos. However, with the development of building construction based on new materials such as lime and burnt clay bricks, new construction techniques like arches and domes developed. The ancient Romans became masters in rainwater harvesting and the construction of reservoirs. It was this new technique of building closed cisterns, and at the same time the urbanization within the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean, which resulted in the development of a rainwater catchment culture at all those places where water resources were limited. This is why old rainwater cisterns are to be found on the islands of Capri and Malta and at places of historical interest in Spain and Turkey, in the Lebanon and on the island of Sicily. King Mesha of Moab in Jordan is documented from 850 BC as having commanded that cisterns be dugout by every family in the city Qerkhah for themselves. Probably the world's largest cistern is the Yerebatan Sarayi. On the European side of Istanbul in Turkey, it was constructed under Caesar Justinian (A.D. 527-565) and measures 140 by 70 metres. It can store 80,000 cu.m. water. The underground structure is based on intersecting vaults. Nowadays it has turned into a tourist attraction, which can be visited by boat, drifting through a forest of columns. Another cistern in Istanbul is called Binbirdik and has a capacity of 50,000 cu.m. Sources are unclear as to which of the cisterns is the older. It could be the Binbirdik if constructed under Caesar Constantine (A.D. 329 337) as one source suggests. Both cisterns served as centralized storage. The water was collected from roofs and paved streets and a sophisticated system of filters assured clean water. However the municipal underground cisterns in Istanbul are probably the only examples of urban centralized rainwater harvesting of their kind. There are probably two major reasons why this technique was no longer used. Firstly, the construction of underground cisterns is considerably more expensive than the construction of dams. Secondly, there is a danger of accidental pollution through human excrete in dense urban areas and therefore a risk of epidemics. Although RWH and storage in closed cisterns were never used again to the same extent as in ancient Rome, they were occasionally employed where circumstances demanded an appropriate technology. This happened in semi-desert areas where people wanted to build homes without springs or wells in the vicinity. The technique was often used when Christian monks built their monasteries. Many of these examples still exist in the former Spanish Empire and monasteries in Mexico, for instance, provide evidence of the high standard of design and construction.

The technique disappeared with increasing urbanization and industrialization. It can be assumed that the technical means available during the industrial age, the need for supplies of large amounts of water for industry, the high standard of water hygiene achieved through central treatment and safe supply via pipes are all reasons for the reduced use of rainwater harvesting. But modern water technology not only has advantages. Its disadvantages are as follow (Hasse, 1989): 1. The centralization of supply involves the risk of total cut-off in cases of natural disaster (earthquakes etc.), destruction through acts of war (bombing etc.), and source pollution (environmental pollution through chemicals). This is the vulnerability of a modern centralized water supply. 2. The consumption of water is not only based on need, but very much influenced by the convenience of access. It can be observed everywhere that water wastage is the rule rather than the exception. This is based on an economy, which has made one source of life a commodity of consumption and represents the contradiction between the need for careful management of world resources and an economy based on permanent expansion. However' in general there can be no doubt that there is no alternative to a centralized water supply in urban areas nowadays. As cost of water use with population increases and government budget tightens for centralized water treatment the only way out is sustainable water use. RWH comes to rescue in this situation. RWH is gaining importance again in the mainstream water resource management, in rural single dwelling as well as urban residential areas. It is not until the end of the 20th century that the use of rainwater combined with the saving of water and reuse of wastewater can be an economic solution when considering the rising cost of tap water. Water uses a tremendous amount of energy. It is not just a matter of the gas and electricity required to heat, cool, or pump water in our homes and businesses. It takes large amounts of energy before that to extract, convey, treat, and deliver water. Additional energy is required to collect, treat, and dispose of storm water. While the total energy required for later use is highly location-specific, overall, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has estimated that almost 20 percent of Californias electricity demand, and over 30 percent of Californias natural gas demand, are associated with water use (Cohen, 2007). Average Americans use 98 gal/capita/day of water (3). Of this only 1 gal/capita/day is used for drinking purpose. That means nearly 99 % water is used for Non-potable purpose. If some amount of rainwater can be harvested in each household of the urban area and stored in the tank, it relieves a certain portion of water demand from the water authority of that urban area. This decrease in demand in lieu will decrease the natural resources and energy required to treat the water. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is more attractive to the urban consumers because significant amount of water as used for non-potable purpose and they are paying $474/yr in their water bills (3). United States water authorities are also spending 28.5 billion dollars just to treat water and convey to their consumers (3). Since, US population is increasing day by day, building new infrastructure to treat water is not only energy intensive but also time consuming, expensive and unsustainable. The connection between potable water use and energy demand is important to recognize in the broader context of sustainable water management. It is critical to assess water use not only from a resource availability and protection standpoint, but also with the aim of improving overall sustainability of which energy is a critical component. As municipalities are faced with the anticipated CO2 reductions that will be required over the coming decades, decreased potable water demand along with other measures such as increased energy efficiency and conservation Rainwater harvesting along with gray water and reclaimed

water reuse represent an integrated water management approach that can not only limit contributions to climate change, but also protect and conserve limited water resources developing resiliency to the uncertain effects of climate change (Kloss 2008). Sustainable withdrawal of fresh water is currently an issue in the U.S. The fast growing demand for clean water, coupled with the need to protect and enhance the environment, has already created shortages in some parts of the U.S. and will make other areas of the U.S. vulnerable to water shortages in the future. For example, Californias allocation of Colorado River water has been reduced because competing urban, agricultural and environmental interests could not agree on a conservation plan. The Ogallala fossil water aquifer in the Central Plains is being depleted by agricultural and urban extraction, with no effective recharge. An increasing number of water disputes are taking place as well in the eastern U.S. - between Virginia and Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, and among Georgia, Florida and Alabama (4). The implementation of decentralized rainwater harvesting can minimize the use of following conventional practices which is categorized as follows: 1. Extracting and conveying water: Most water used in the United States is diverted from rivers and streams or pumped from aquifers. Conveying water often means pumping it over hills or into storage facilitiesa process that can be highly energy intensive. Smaller amounts of fresh water are extracted from salt, brackish, or recycled water using desalination or other energy-consuming technologies. 2. Treating water: Water treatment facilities use energy to pump and process water, and this energy demand is expected to increase over the next decade as treatment capacity expands with population growth. 3. Distributing water: Energy is usually needed to pump and pressurize water, but gravity pressurization and distribution are possible when reservoirs are sufficiently higher than the locations of water use. 4. Storm water Management: When there is a storm event all runoff will be directed to local receiving water. This will saturate the stream causing of pollutants, and increasing the chances of flooding. Municipalities must adapt to this increase of storm water runoff by increasing the drainage systems, which can be very costly. An alternative to expanding existing infrastructure is to promote rainwater capture systems (Wong, 2011). 5. Residential use: Harvested rainwater can be used for irrigating the garden or flushing the toilet, which will significantly decrease their water bills. Even though, RWH seems to be a promising alternative for conventional water treatment and distrubution, its success is heavily influenced by spatial and temporal variation of rainfall and water demand. Due to this, estimation of tank size and optimal tank capacity needed for that particular place is a challenge faced in the present time. This randomness and stochastic nature of rainfall pattern can be possibly envisaged with entropy model. The relevance of entropy to rainfall pattern lies in the fact that there is a considerable amount of uncertainty associated with the long-term performance of RWH systems. It has been suggested by Tanyimboh and Sheahan (2001) on water distribution model, in the long run, maximum entropy designs could probably outperform all other designs in terms of hydraulic performance, as the uncertainty about the magnitudes and locations of future demands is enormous. Also, there is a body of evidence, which suggests that water distribution networks with higher entropy values are generally more reliable. Rainfall Pattern Entropy Model

The entropy concept is used in this study to determine the spatio-temporal variability/disorder of rainfall pattern. Employing the entropy concept spatial and temporal variability of precipitation time series were investigated for the State of Texas, USA (Mishra et. al., 2009) with monthly, seasonal and annual time series. Entropy (Shannon, 1948 ) is a measure of dispersion, uncertainty, disorder and diversification.

Research Questions
1. Optimization of Rainwater Storage tank (may be entropy based approach, cost/benefit approach etc) 2. Quantify the financial benefit by implementation of rainwater harvesting system in $/household or $/person using optimal tank. 3. Quantify the energy saving by implementation of RWH in Unit/household or unit/person using optimal tank. 4. Quantify the decrease in CO2 emission in lb/household or lb/person using optimal tank. 5. Estimate rebate needed for residents by municipalities to ease the initial cost of setup for optimal tank (given from cost saving).

Methodology:
Though a rainwater tank system in a household is seemingly simple, the interaction of supplydemand in the temporal domain and the variability in climate condition as well as in water usage pattern make a closed-form solution impossible (Wang and Blackmore, 2009). The following assumptions are made: 1. Rainfall is the single most factor for feasible RWH system. So, it is assumed that there is sufficient rainfall in the area considered. 2. Certain quantifiable household is considered in study area. 3. Rainwater is used for non-potable purpose and only for Toilet flushing and garden watering.

References 1. Cohen R. (2007), Water Energy Nexus, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southwest Hydrology, September/ October 2007, pp 16 19 2. Gould, J. and Nissen-Petersen E. 1999 in press, Rainwater Catchment Systems for Domestic Water Supply: Design, Construction and Implementation, IT Publications, London, 300p 3. Hasse, R. Rainwater Reservior above Ground Structures for Roof Catchments, Deutshes Zentrum Publications, 1989 4. Kloss, C. (December 2008). Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure: Municipal Handbook, Rainwater Harvesting Policies. Low Impact Development Center, United States Environmental Protection Agency. USEPA. 5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_United_States 6. http://waterindustry.org/Water-Facts/world-water-6.htm 7. Mishra A., Ozger M., Singh V., An entropy based investigation into variability of precipitation. Journal of Hydrology, pp 139 -154 8. Shannon, C.E., 1948. A mathematical theory of communication. Bell. System Tech. J. 27, 379

423. 623656 9. Tanyimboh T and Sheahan C. (2001), Maximum entropy based approach to the layout optimization of Water distribution systems, Taylor and Francis Group, pp 223-253. 10. Wang C.H., Blackmore J.M. (2009), Risk in integrated urban water systems: A demonstration using measures and assessment of rainwater tank use in household. eWater Cooperative Research Centre Technical Report, University of Canberra, Australia. 11. Wong C. 2011. Stormwater Management: comparing the benefits of residents and municipalities, Civil And Environmental Engineering Dept. San Jose State University