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2012 Conference: All presentations are available here, for purchase on an ARCSA thumbdrive via the ARCSA store, pdf presentations are available here

These abstracts are available to the public. If you are a member and wish to view the complete presentation, please Log In FIRST and then click on the blue title of the paper you wish to view.

Single-Family Home Rainwater-Harvesting System Demonstration Project For Stormwater-Runoff Control and Utility-Water Saving

By John Hammerstrom & Tamim Younos

This report summarizes results for a three-year study of a single-family home in Key Largo, Florida, supplied by dual water sources, i.e., rooftop rainwater and utility-supplied water for both potable and non-potable uses. The rainwater harvesting system incorporated a water treatment system for potable uses. The study measured captured rainwater and use, utility water consumed, and reduction in stormwater runoff. The excess rainwater was directed to a spreader swale for underground infiltration resulting in zero runoff. Over a three-year period, the system captured 108,500 gallons (72%) of all rainwater (150,500 gallons) that fell on the single-family roof. As a result, utility water consumption was reduced to 33.9 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), compared to the utility average of 107 gpcd. Total water consumption (utility water plus rainwater) was 83.6 gpcd, still below the utility average, but greater than that of water-conserving homes, due in part to increased rainwater consumption when the rainwater storage tank was full. The initial capital, maintenance and life-cycle costs were documented.


Current and projected life-cycle-costs per gallon of treated rainwater are compared to utility.  It is concluded that a well-designed and maintained rainwater harvesting system can 1) significantly reduce the amount of water required from a public utility; 2) deliver very high quality water that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Drinking Water Standards at a competitive price; and 3) result in zero stormwater runoff. This rainwater harvesting demonstration project is expected to inspire investment in the modern revival of this ancient practice by governmental entities, philanthropists and homeowners.


Rainwater Harvesting: A Holistic Approach for Sustainable Water Management in Built Environments
by Tamim Younos & Sarah Lawson
Summary: 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.

A Preliminary Survey of Rainwater Catchment Systems for Impacts Associated with Halema'uma'u Gas Discharge

by Trisha Macomber & Donald Thomas
Trisha Macomber - University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR) Cooperative Extension, presents research done by herself and Donald Thomas of the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes in this downloadable (.mov) 18-minute video. The presentation discusses Volcanic Smog, also known as VOG, and contaminant measurements in areas directly and indirectly affected by the gasses from the Halema'uma'u volcano on the big island of Hawaii. There are fascinating images and surprising results.
This manual has been used by many as the authoritative source for rainwater harvesting designs, and is being considered by regulatory agencies as their reference source. This if offered free here for ARCSA members, and at a cost of $20 for non-members. If one were interested in the document and is not yet a member, one may considerjoining ARCSA and viewing the free manual as a $20 savings on the membership fee. Non-members click here to purchase the document.
Click here to connect to the Members-only page that allows download of Neal's latest compilation of Rainwater Harvesting Legislation and other Policies. Neal has prepared a spreadsheet of known legislation and policies. If you have an entry to update his effort, please contact Neal through ARCSA -
This paper is available through the Cabell Brand Center, and special thanks to Dr. Younos and David Crawford for allowing us to link to this compelling research. Implementing a decentralized water supply system is a paradigm shift toward envisioning a pipe-less society where less energy will be consumed for water supply delivery. Objectives of this paper are: 1) estimate energy consumption for conventional water treatment and distribution systems; 2) estimate carbon footprint for a building from energy use (kWh/1,000 gallons) and in-building water use related to conventional water supplies; 3) estimate potable water savings due to installation of a decentralized rainwater harvesting system and the impact of potable water saving on energy consumption and carbon footprint. The study approach is applied to three buildings of different scales. Results show that for study buildings, the building carbon footprint can be reduced if rainwater harvesting/use is implemented. However, the possible impact of electricity that may be used to run a rainwater pump for in-building water distribution is not reflected in the study. The paper is concluded with a brief overview of potential for implementing integrated renewable energy and decentralized water management systems.
Life-Cycle-Costs comparison of Reverse Osmosis to Rainwater Harvesting
by Jack Schultz, PE and Tobias Schultz
The City of Santa Cruz Department of Water is conducting an Environmental Impact Report to help them decide the best way to provide for an expected shortfall of 2.5 million gallons per day. In this analysis, although Reverse Osmosis has a substantially greater energy cost, the capital and maintenance costs of rainwater harvesting are substantially greater. Members may download the analysis, and comment on the ARCSA Discussion Forum by clicking on this link.
Is Condensate considered to be Graywater by the EPA?
Text of an email exchange among ARCSA members Steve Williams, Bob Boulware and Dennis Lye
A fair question, asked by ARCSA member Steve Williams to Bob Boulware and Dennis Lye. Their responses and elaboration are worth reading.

by Kurt Unger
Washington State Department of Ecology
Mr. Unger explains clearly and succinctly some of the history and concepts fundamental to Prior Appropriation (most western states) and Riparian law (32 eastern states). He lists Obstacles to Policy Development, cites examples of water law, lists reasons for opposition to rainwater harvesting, explains Elements of a Water Right, offers possible solutions and itemizes "take home" messages.
Changing How Water is Managed
Honorable Peter Beattie
2010 ARCSA Conference Keynote Speaker, Honourable Peter Beattie, former Premier of the state of Queensland, Australia, details the worst drought in their history and the innovative and challenging solutions, including conservation, efficiency, management and probably the most extensive rainwater-harvesting usage in the world.

2010 Code Update
Bob Boulware
Past ARCSA President Bob Boulware describes the state of Codes in the U.S. regarding rainwater harvesting, and the need for harvesting rainwater, including a compelling argument that quality of water argues for potable rainwater use.

Peak Water - Renewable, Nonrenewable and Ecological
Peter Gleick and Meena Palaniappan
Pacific Institute 654 13th Street, Oakland, CA 94612
[with permission of the principal author]
Freshwater resources are fundamental for maintaining human health, agricultural production, economic activity as well as critical ecosystem functions. As populations and economies grow, new constraints on water resources are appearing, raising questions about limits to water availability. Such resource questions are not new. The specter of "peak oil"—a peaking and then decline in oil production—has long been predicted and debated. We pre sent here a detailed assessment and definition of three concepts of "peak water": peak renewable water, peak nonrenewable water, and peak ecological water.
Ten Strategies to Promote Rainwater Harvesting
Hari J. Krishna, Ph.D., P.E., P.H. ARCSA Founder
In the 1980s and early 90s, most people, especially in urban areas were unaware of what rainwater harvesting (rwh) even meant. It took an enormous amount of effort working with and speaking to local communities, organizations and state agencies to publicize the benefits of rwh. Based on my experience with rwh during the past 20 years, I wish to offer the following strategies that can be utilized to promote the technology in your respective state or region.
Disinfection and Filtration: Tried and True Methods and Hot New Products
Stephen K. Wiman Owner and Geologist (Ph.D.) Good Water Company Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Water Catchment Challenges in a Semi-Arid Climate
  • Supplementing Catchment Water Brief Overview of Water Purification Regulations Applying Water Purification Technology Water Chemistry Comparison
  • Cistern – Well – City Water Testing Options
  • On Site
  • EPA-Approved Laboratory Bacteria
  • Testing Disinfection
Nate Downey
Santa Fe Permaculture

This is an attractive PDF presentation with excellent graphics describing the relative merits of alternatives available to solve water shortages, with emphasis on the methods and attributes of passive rainwater harvesting.
The Alternatives Passive Harvesting's Big Five
Passive Soils & Mulch
Active Check Dams
Wastewater Best Plants
Community Smart Design
Conservation Swales & Grading
Why Consider Alternatives to Active Rainwater Harvesting?
Nate Downey Steve WilliamsBrad LancasterDoug Pushard

"Active Rainwater-Harvesting Techniques Collect from the roof. Passive Rainwater-Harvesting Techniques Collect the rest."
Discussions include the changes to hydrology and runoff due to development; Itemizes billions of gallons of stormwater major cities deal with each year; Examples of Street flooding, lost top soil, pollution of lakes and streams; Try to imitate the way nature works;
Excellent graphics, clear explanations and good examples.
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12/1/2020 » 12/2/2020
2020 Annual Conference

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