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Water Science & Technology—WST Vol 60 No 3 pp 543–553 © IWA Publishing 2009 doi:10.2166/wst.2009.361

Consequences to water suppliers of collecting rainwater on housing estates

Auguste Gires and Bernard de Gouvello

Université Paris-Est, Leesu, UMR MA 102 AgroParisTech, 6–8 avenue Blaise Pascal, F 77455, Marne la Vallée cedex 2, France E-mail: auguste.gires@cereve.enpc.fr
Centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment, 84 av Jean Jaurès, F 77421, Marne la Vallée Cedex 2, France


The collection, storage and use of rainwater from roofs reduce the need for potable water. However, if water suppliers are to decrease their infrastructure costs as well as their operational costs (due to water savings), the rainwater system has to provide most of the time a significant percentage of the water demand. This paper adopts the viewpoint of the water suppliers and investigates how reliable this source of water is in the case of a housing estate, considering WC flushing as the only water demand. A housing estate was modelled and different realistic input scenarios (water demand for WC flushing, storage capacity, roof area, and rainfall) were defined. Three indicators were exhibited. The variability generated by each input on the indicators was evaluated. The indicators were estimated for 63 homogeneously distributed French cities. Among the indicators exhibited in this paper, the most relevant one is the percentage of water supplied from the tank that is secured during 95% of the days of the simulation. The main conclusion is that the optimum way of determining the storage capacity of the rainwater collection system is not the same from the viewpoint of the users than from the viewpoint of the water suppliers. Indeed, water suppliers tend to require bigger tanks in order to take into account the rainwater collection systems in their management plan.

Keywords: modelling; rainwater collection; simulation; water conservation; water utility management

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