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RMIT University (2008)

Optimal use of rainwater tanks to minimize residential water consumption

Khastagir, A

Titre : Optimal use of rainwater tanks to minimize residential water consumption

Auteur : Khastagir, A

Université de soutenance : RMIT University

Grade : Masters by Research 2008

Résumé
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria Australia leads the world in having the highest quality drinking water. The Victorian State Government has set targets for reducing per capita water consumption by 15%, 25% and 30% by 2010, 2015 and 2020 respectively and has announced stringent water restrictions to curtail water demand. In this resource constraint environment it is opportune to look for alternative sources of water to supplement Melbourne’s traditional water supply. In Melbourne, legislation has been changed to make it possible to use rainwater harvested from domestic tanks for non potable purposes. The annual rainfall in Melbourne’s metropolitan area varies from 450mm in the West to 850mm in the East to over 1000mm in the North East mountain ranges.

The objectives of the current study are to develop a methodology to estimate the optimal size of the rainwater tank at a particular location considering the local rainfall, roof area, demand for water and the reliability of supply (supply security) required ; to quantify the rainwater volume that could be harvested at site using domestic rainwater tanks to minimise pressure on the potable water supply secured from traditional catchment sources until the desalination plant is commissioned in 2013 ; to analyse the efficacy of rainwater tanks to reduce the stormwater runoff and improve the quality of the stormwater that will otherwise flow into urban drains and to estimate the cost effectiveness ratio and payback period of inst alling rainwater tanks.
A simple water balance model was developed to calculate the tank size based on daily rainfall, roof area and the expected demand. The concept of ’reliability’ was introduced to measure supply security. Rainfall data from 20 rainfall stations scattered around Melbourne were used to determine the variation in the rainwater tank size dependent on the above stated parameters. It was observed that to achieve the same supply reliability (90%) and to meet a specific demand (toilet and garden use), the tank size required in the western side of Melbourne is as high as 7 times as that required in the north-east side. As a result, the "one size fits all" approach is not applicable in Melbourne considering the spatial distribution of mean annual rainfall (MAR). In this study, a unique generalized curve was developed to determine the optimum tank size considering the variation in MAR, demand, roof area and supply reliability.
The 20 rainfall stations of Greater Melbourne were divided into three water zones based on the three water retailers in Melbourne (Yarra Valley Water, South East Water and City West Water) to calculate the percentage reduction of potable water supply in these above stated water zones over the next 5 years until the desalination plant is commissioned in 2013. Finally, the cost effectiveness of using rainwater for nonpotable domestic use in comparison with traditional reticulated water supply was analysed.

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