Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012TN90B

Rainwater Harvesting as part of a Sustainable Urban Water Management Strategy

Institute: Tennessee
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $43,247

Principal Investigators: Kevin Robinson, Kevin Robinson

Abstract: The overall objective of this project is to reduce the potable water demand of the University of Tennessee campus. While a combination of reuse and water capture strategies will be needed to attain the goal of a sustainable water infrastructure, this project focuses on a specific water capture strategy for a specific water use application. The utilization of rainwater has been suggested as a supplementary water source to the local water utility (Knoxville Utility Board, KUB) for make-up cooling water in campus cooling towers. A feasibility study on supplementing a single campus cooling tower with rainwater must first be conducted to ascertain whether the idea can become a campus-wide water-saving strategy. The rainwater will essentially provide a second make-up water line to the designated cooling tower in addition to the already-installed KUB make-up line. Key aspects of the project include: identifying the necessary components of a rainwater harvesting system for cooling tower use; examining the quality of the collected rainwater to determine if any additional chemical treatment is necessary to maintain efficient cooling tower operation; and quantifying the amount of potable water that can be saved by the providing a second make-up line. Evaluation of the projects feasibility will be based on comparing the cost of implementing and maintaining the system with the savings from potable water use reduction. It is anticipated that the project will need to be applied to other cooling towers to significantly reduce the potable water consumption of the University of Tennessee campus.