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Roof Top Rainwater Harvesting Trainers Manual

By: AR Shivakumar*

This Trainers Manual on Rainwater Harvesting has been developed as part of an


initiative by the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology to promote large
scale rainwater harvesting in urban areas.

The Manual is targeted for use by trainers who will be building the capacity of diverse
target audiences such as architects, civil engineers, building contractors, plumbers and
entrepreneurs who wish to expand their scope of activities to include implementation of
rainwater harvesting systems. It addresses technical issues that affect the sustainability of
rainwater harvesting systems and draws attention to maintenance and troubleshooting
aspects. Training programmes would need to be adapted to the target audience and the
manual serves as a guide for the same. The manual can also be provided as reading
reference material for the trainees since it gives detailed insight and practical
implementation tips that would be beneficial to practitioners.

It is important to note that practical issues will differ with local conditions and trainers
are encouraged to promote interactive training sessions that allow participants to share
their opinions and practical experiences. It would be appreciated if interesting insights are
shared with the authors.

Session 1: Introduction
This session can highlight the importance and scope of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater
harvesting as an age old technique, its decline over the years and resurgence in the recent
past can be showcased to the trainees through relevant examples.

Session 2: Preparing the groundwork


The second session can introduce the concept of rainwater harvesting techniques and the
trainees can be made aware of important terms that will feature in the later chapters. To
bring into focus the states rainfall patterns, groundwater resources, soil conditions and
geology can be discussed.

Session 3: Technical aspects


This session can be divided into different sub-sessions covering issues related to water
quality and focusing on specific components or techniques that are elaborated.

The depth into which the technical aspects are addressed depends on the target audience.
The trainer is free to focus on techniques that are applicable to the specific geographical
area where the trainees will eventually practice. Though the manual lists out practical
implementation issues in each section, trainees should be encourage to talk about their
practical experiences and discuss issues they expect to face. The points provided in the
manual can also be discussed and analyzed.

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 1
Session 4: Calculations
Once the concepts and techniques of rainwater harvesting have been understood, the
sessions can move towards practical designing of rainwater harvesting systems. The first
step would be calculating the size of the storage devices if the water is to be collected and
reused. Sample calculations for an independent house have been shown.

Case studies have been provided to help trainees gain a better understanding of designing
an optimal system. Some sample practice exercises have been provided which can be
worked upon individually or in groups. The designs can be discussed in the class and the
trainer can guide the trainees by identifying strengths and weaknesses of each design.

Sizing of the storage tank


This chapter discusses in detail the sizing of tanks for storing rainwater for future use.
When designing the size of a storage tank, the following factors come into play.

Rainwater yield
Estimated demand
Available space
Aesthetics
Budget

The storage tank is the most expensive component of the rainwater harvesting system as
costs increase proportionally with tank capacity. Therefore, adequate care must be taken
to design the tank. In areas that face severe water shortage, there may be a greater need to
store as much rainwater as possible, irrespective of the cost. In other areas, budget or
space availability may be a limiting factor resulting in a trade-off in collection efficiency.

In homes where a rainwater harvesting system is being retrofitted, the impediments to


collecting all available water may be far greater than if it is implemented at the building
construction stage. When a rainwater harvesting system for storage and reuse is being
implemented in a building at the construction stage, the sump and overhead tanks of
adequate size as well as required plumbing systems can be designed effectively. In all
cases, it should be ensured that the tank size is optimal. There are two methods of
calculating the size of the storage tank, the first based on demand and the second based
on supply.

Sample calculations have been worked out for an independent home and the case
examples and practice exercises in the following chapters will further clarify design
parameters for rainwater storage and reuse systems.

Storage sizing based on water demand


This is a very simple method. The tank size is decided depending upon the following
parameters, provided that the catchment area and available rainfall are adequately high.

Daily water use

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 2
Number of days for which rainwater should meet water needs (as defined by the
client) or on the longest average dry period

A sample calculation has been worked out.


Daily per capita consumption = 45 litres
Number of people in the household = 6

Daily water consumption = 45 x 6 = 270 litres


Number of days for which water demand needs to be met
= 10 days (as specified by client)

Size of the storage tank = 270 x 10 = 2700 litres

Provided that the catchment and rainfall are adequately high, a tank of capacity 2700
litres would ensure that the specified water demand can be met by harvested rainwater for
10 days after the tank is filled.

This calculation method is very elementary and with the maximum storage time as
specified here there will be no water stored during the dry months.

Storage sizing based on rainfall supply


This method is more commonly used by rainwater harvesting practitioners to design
storage capacities. It requires long term rainfall data which can be obtained from the
offices of the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) in India and such similar
agencies in other countries.
Results obtained by using daily or weekly rainfall averages would be more accurate than
those obtained by using monthly rainfall averages and are therefore preferred. A
limitation would be the availability of daily or weekly averages of rainfall data as against
monthly or annual values.

Over the past few years there has been a significant deviation from normal rainfall
patterns in many parts. In order to include a factor of safety, especially in designing large
rainwater collection systems, it is advisable to use data for rainfall that is definitely
expected in nine cases out of ten, that is, elimination of 10% of the unusually high or low
values of rainfall received in each month. This reduces the collection efficiency in high
rainfall years, but ensures a better cost-to-benefit ration in the long term.

In all cases, the design of storage sizing for rainwater harvesting should consider the cost-
to-benefit ratio. The most suitable size can be arrived at after discussions with the client
on both issues.

The system sizing calculations that are typically undertaken are elaborated in the sections
below. Calculations are done using monthly rainfall data and monthly water demand
patters, so that the concept can then be easily understood by the trainees. The concept can
also be extended further to work with weekly rainfall data. During advanced training
courses, concepts pertaining to factor of safety can be introduced to the participants.

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 3
Monthly rainwater yield
The annual rainwater yield or the quantity of rainwater that can be collected from a given
catchment area over a year is

Q = (A x R x C x F)

Where

Q = annual rainwater yield = quantity of rainfall collected from the


catchment area (litres)
A = catchment area (sqm)
R = annual precipitation (mm)
C = run-off coefficient for a catchment material
F = filter efficiency

If there are multiple catchments (two types of rooftop materials, or roof top and paved
ground catchment, or rooftop and paved ground and landscaped areas catchment) the
quantity of water can be collected from each catchment area should be calculated and
summed.

In a similar manner, monthly rainwater yield can be calculated as

Qm = (A x Rm x C x F)

Where
Qm = monthly rainwater yield (litres
A = catchment area (sqm)
Rm = average monthly precipitation (mm)
C = run-off coefficient for a catchment material
F = filter efficiency

If there are multiple catchments (two types of rooftop materials, or rooftop and paved
ground catchment, or rooftop and paved ground and landscaped area catchment), the
quantity of water that can be collected from each catchment should be calculated and
summed.

Run-off coefficients for various catchment surfaces

Type of catchment Coefficients


Roof catchments
Tiles 0.8-0.9
Corrugated metal sheets 0.7-0.9
Ground surface coverings
Concrete 0.6-0.8
Brick pavement 0.5-0.6

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 4
Untreated ground catchments
Soil on slopes less than 10% 0.1-0.3
Rocky natural catchments 0.2-0.5

Demand estimation
Water demand varies widely and depends on the season, the activity for which the water
is being used and the number of people using it. It needs to be calculated on a case-to-
case basis. Some pointers for estimating demand that can be substituted with rainwater
are given below:

Independent house
The Indian Standard Code IS:1172:1983 prescribes the per capita daily water supply
norm in urban areas as 135 litres. To get a more accurate estimate of demand Table 1 can
be used. The values given under approximate water consumption can be modified to
introduce necessary corrections for specific cases.

Domestic water consumption (in litres/capita/day)

Activity Quantity (LPCD)


Cooking 4
Drinking 3
Bathing 18
Washing 45
Flushing 37
Gardening 28
Total 135
Water usage for gardening is highly variable and is season dependent. Irrigation
requirements are usually 5 litres/sqm in case of large lawn areas. A bucket system can be
used to estimate irrigation requirements (number of buckets x volume of the bucket) and
the monthly irrigation requirements can be approximated accordingly. If water is used for
other purposes, a similar method can be employed to estimate consumption.

Table 1: Calculating estimates of demand for water

Approximate water Number of uses/ Weekly water Monthly water


consumption (A) household/ week consumption C consumption
(B) = (AxB) D=Cx4
Toilet
Regular flush 10 litres/flush
Regular flush 9 litres/flush
(new)
Dual flush 4 litres/flush (half)
9 litres/flush (full)
Bathing 20 litres/person
Washing clothes
by hand
Washing machine 75 litres/load
Irrigation

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 5
Miscellaneous
(floor washing,
vehicle washing
etc.)
Total

Apartment complex

Most apartment complexes have different sump and overhead tanks for delivering water
to the kitchen, as against those delivering water to common areas and toilets. The volume
of water used on a daily basis from the sump or overhead tanks delivering water to the
toilets and common areas can be estimated. This constitutes the water demand that can
potentially be replaced by harvested rainwater. If that is difficult to estimate, the method
employed for an independent home can be used in this case also.

Schools and public buildings


In these buildings, water demand that can potentially be substituted by harvested
rainwater is that of water to be used in toilets, for garden irrigation, floor washing and air
conditioning chillers (if present).

These can receive water from the municipal water supply, borewells and tankers. If water
supply comes from the municipal source or tankers, the total monthly water demand can
be obtained from the monthly water bills. If borewell water is used, the flow rate method
can be used to estimate the monthly water demand.

Water demand that can be substituted by harvested rainwater = total monthly water
demand water used at drinking water points and canteen.

Water demand in schools changes during vacations and examinations. If these buildings
have large landscaped areas, water demand can change depending upon the season.

Industries
In industries, rainwater can be used for the following:

Toilets
Landscape irrigation
Air conditioning chillers
Industrial processes
Fire fighting equipment

Most industries have water meters on each of the main water lines and maintain a proper
log book of water consumption. Hospitals and hotels are also considered as industries.

Monitoring water demand: flow rate method


1. Measure the time taken to fill a reasonably sized bucket at the tank water inlet.
2. Flow rate (l/s) = volume of bucket (l) / time taken (s)
3. Measure the number of minutes for which the pump is turned on

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 6
Everyday (to fill the tank)
4. Daily demand (l) = Flow rate (l/s) x duration of water pumping
Per day (mins) x 60
5. Monthly demand (l) = daily demand x 30

Table 2: Bangalore: Average annual precipitation


Month Mean total rainfall (mm) Mean number of rainy days
January 2.7 0.2
February 7.2 0.5
March 4.4 0.4
April 46.3 3
May 119.6 7
June 80.8 6.4
July 110.2 8.3
August 137.0 10
September 194.8 9.3
October 180.4 9
November 64.5 4
December 22.1 1.7
Total 970.0 59.8

Parks
Here, the water demand is for irrigation and can be assumed to be
litres/sqm.

Estimation of the storage capacity


Assumptions
1. Independent house in Bangalore
2. Rooftop area (A) = 100 sqm
3. Water harvested from RCC flat roof (run-off coefficient (C) = 0.8)
4. Filter efficiency (F) = 80%
5. Four members in the family
6. 40 LPCD (litres per capita per day) used for flushing and gardening

Annual rainwater yield


Q =AxRxCxF
= 100 x 970 x 0.8 x 0.8 = 62080 litres

Annual water demand that can potentially be substituted with harvested rainwater

= daily per capita water demand x number of people x 365 days


= 40 x 4 x 365 = 58400 litres

Simple tabular method of calculating storage tank size


To show how this is done, a sample calculation is shown in Table 3. The calculations are
made based on available monthly rainfall data. If weekly or daily rainfall data is used, the

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 7
sizing becomes more accurate. We must start the calculations with the month where there
is rainfall after a significant dry period.

Minimum storage required


= maximum volume stored surplus water left at the end of the year
= 9459 0 litres
= 9459 litres

For an urban home with a rooftop area of 100 sqm, it may not be possible to have a
rainwater storage tank of size 9500 litres. If we were to vary water demand during the
low, average and high rainfall months, the minimum storage size required can be
calculated as shown in Table 4.

Table 3: Calculation of storage tank size


Roof area 100 sqm Monthly water yield = Qm = AxRxCxF
Run-off coefficient 0.8 Cumulative water yield = sum of monthly
Water yields that month

Filter efficiency 0.8 Monthly water demand = water demand/


Person/day x no. of persons x 30

Cumulative water demand = sum of


Monthly water demand until that month

Number of persons 4

Water usage for non-


Potable purposes 60 LPCD

Monthly water demand 7200 litres

Month Rainfall Monthly Cumulative Monthly Cumulative Volume Monthly deficit


(mm) water yield water yield water water demand stored (B- / surplus (A-C)
(A) litres (B) litres demand (D) litres D) litres litres
litres
May 119.6 7654.4 7654.4 7200 7200 454.4 454.4
June 80.8 5171.2 12825.6 7200 14400 0 -2028.8
July 110.2 7052.8 19878.4 7200 21600 0 -147.2
August 137.0 8768.0 28646.4 7200 28800 0 1568.0
September 194.8 12467.2 41113.6 7200 36000 5113.6 5267.2
October 180.4 11545.6 52659.2 7200 43200 9459.2 4345.6
November 64.5 4128.0 56787.2 7200 50400 6387.2 -3072.0
December 22.1 1414.4 58201.6 7200 57600 601.6 -5785.6
January 2.7 172.8 58374.4 7200 64800 0 -7027.2
February 7.2 460.8 58835.2 7200 72000 0 -6739.2
March 4.4 281.6 59116.8 7200 79200 0 -6918.4
April 46.3 2963.2 62080.0 7200 86400 0 -4236.8
Total 970.0 62080.0 86400 -24320.0

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 8
Table 4 Calculation of storage tank size with varying water demand

Roof Area 100 sqm


Run-off coefficient 0.8
Filter efficiency 0.8
Number of persons 4
Water usage for all non-potable purposes 80 LPCD
Monthly water demand during high rainfall months 9600 litres

Month Rainfall Monthly Cumulative Monthly Cumulative Volume Monthly deficit


(mm) water yield water yield water water demand stored (B- / surplus (A-C)
(A) litres (B) litres demand (D) litres D) litres litres
litres
May 119.6 7654.4 7654.4 6000 6000 1654.4 1654.4
June 80.8 5171.2 12825.6 6000 12000 825.6 -828.8
July 110.2 7052.8 19878.4 6000 18000 1878.4 1052.8
August 137.0 8768.0 28646.4 9600 27600 1046.4 -832.0
September 194.8 12467.2 41113.6 9600 37200 3913.6 2867.2
October 180.4 11545.6 52659.2 9600 46800 5859.2 1945.6
November 64.5 4128.0 56787.2 4200 51000 5787.2 -72.0
December 22.1 1414.4 58201.6 4200 55200 3001.6 -2785.6
January 2.7 172.8 58374.4 4200 59400 0 -4027.2
February 7.2 460.8 58835.2 4200 63600 0 -3739.2
March 4.4 281.6 59116.8 4200 67800 0 -3918.4
April 46.3 2963.2 62080.0 4200 72000 0 -1236.8
Total 970.0 62080.0 72000 -9920.0

Number of persons 4

Water usage for flushing & irrigation 50 LPCD

Monthly water demand during


average rainfall months 6000 litres

Number of persons 4

Water usage for flushing & irrigation 35 LPCD

Monthly water demand during


low rainfall months 4200 litres

Minimum storage required


= maximum volume stored surplus water left at the end of the year

= 5859 0 litres
= 5859 litres

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 9
If a storage tank of this size also cannot be constructed the budget and/or space available
for the tank will play a major role in deciding its size. The overflow water which cannot
be stored during the rainy months can then be recharged into the ground, if possible.

System Design: Case exercises and case studies


Independent home (retrofit): storage and reuse

Mrs. Suma has a house on a 60 feet x 40 feet site in Bangalore. She gets her water supply
from BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) but was interested in
installing a rainwater harvesting system to supplement her water supply. She had a fixed
budget of Rs.10000 and was more interested in the reuse of the harvested water than its
recharge. The following are the details of her rooftop area and existing storage structures.

Catchment area details

Plot area = 60 fee x 40 feet = 2400 square feet = 223 sqm


Rooftop area = 1000 square feet = 93 sqm

Balcony on first floor = 15 feet x 12 feet = 180 square feet = 16.73 sqm

Roof type: flat RCC roof with weather proofing

There is a good slope provided towards the downtake pipes

Number of downtake pipes = 2 (both on the same side of the house)

Available storage and total water demand

Available water storage tanks: 1 sump of capacity 3000 litres and two
overhead tanks of capacity of 1000
litres each
Present source of water : municipal water supply (BWSSB)

Borewell or dug well : not present

Monthly water demand


for all uses : approximately 10000 litres
monthly water bill is less than Rs.100.

There was no space to construct another underground tank on the plot because of the
presence of two coconut trees and the main sewage line running along the empty space in
the plot.

Three options were recommended to Mrs. Suma. Each of these options along with its
feasibility are listed below:

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 10
Option 1
Harvested rainwater to be let into the existing sump. The homeowner did not agree to that
since the sump water feeds the drinking water line.

Option 2
Rainwater to be harvested in a tank kept at ground level near the downtake pipes. The
water could only be used for irrigation and floor washing, since the home owner did not
want to undertake the costs for pump, additional overhead storage and additional
plumbing to toilets.

Option 3
Rainwater to be stored in a tank on the first floor balcony. Harvested rainwater could be
used for a toilet and the washing machine with minimal plumbing. It could also be used
for irrigation and miscellaneous washing activities. This was considered the best option
despite the limitation in the size of the storage tank. The home owner required that
aesthetics be given adequate consideration.

Calculations
Annual rainwater yield

Yield (l) = roof top area (sqm) x annual rainfall (mm) x run-off coefficient x filter
efficiency = 57734 litres

Water demand
For water use in one toilet, washing machine and miscellaneous washing purposes, water
demand was 100 litres per day on an average.

Annual water demand = 36500 litres


Calculations (on a weekly time scale) revealed that the storage tank size required was
very large and impractical. Given the budget, space and aesthetic limitations, the home
owner was given an option of 1000 litres, 750 litres and 500 litres off the shelf plastic
tanks. The installation of a square tank of 750 litres met the owners water demand for six
months. A brick and cement enclosure was constructed around the tank and a cuddapah
stone placed on it to make it look like a seating space. This suited the aesthetic
requirements keeping in mind the limitations of space.

Bill of materials for independent home (retrofit)

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 11
Sl.No. Description Quantity
A. RWH pipes and special fixtures
1. 75mm x 6m RWH pipe PN4 4
2. 75mm RWH tee 1
3. 3/8 inches x 1 inches anchor bolts and nuts 6
4. 75mm right angled adapters 4
5. 110mm x 40o adapters 4
6. Solvent cement litres 1
7. 75mm control valve 2
8. Wooden gatta packet 1
9. Fasteners 1
10. 75mm c clamps 10
11. 12.7mm x 6m delivery pipe 5
12. Non-return valve 1
B. RWH filter 1
C. Tank: one 750 litre plastic tank 1

* A.R. Shivakumar, Principal Investigator RWH, KSCST, IISc., Bangalore 560 012. 12