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Keywords:

  • stormwater management;
  • rainwater harvesting;
  • water conservation;
  • water use;
  • best management practices

Abstract

Rainwater harvesting (RWH) has traditionally been implemented in areas with (semi) arid climates or limited access to potable water supplies; however, recent droughts in the humid southeastern United States have led to increased implementation of RWH systems. The objectives of this study were twofold: (1) present usage characteristics and performance results for four RWH systems installed in humid North Carolina (NC) as compared with systems located in arid/semiarid regions and (2) identify system benefits and modifications that could help improve the performance of RWH systems installed in humid regions of the world. For this study four RWH systems were installed in NC. Their usage was monitored for at least one year and compared with similar studies. Results revealed that dedicated water uses and usage characteristics for RWH systems in NC differed from those previously reported in the literature. Two of the systems studied met 100 and 61% of the potable water demand with designated uses of animal kennel flushing and greenhouse irrigation, respectively. The designated uses yielding the greatest potable water replacement were often seasonal or periodic, thus necessitating the need for identifying and implementing secondary objectives for these systems, namely, stormwater management. Otherwise, the expense and effort required to implement RWH systems in humid areas will most likely preclude their use.