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11/7/2015

SizingtheDRWHsystem

SizingtheDRWHsystem
Usually,themaincalculationwhendesigningaDRWHsystemwillbetosizethewatertankcorrectlyto
giveadequatestoragecapacity.Thestoragerequirementwillbedeterminedbyanumberofinterrelated
factors.Theyinclude:
localrainfalldataandweatherpatterns
roof(orother)collectionarea
runoffcoefficient(thisvariesbetween0.5and0.9dependingonroofmaterialandslope)
usernumbersandconsumptionrates
Thestyleofrainwaterharvestingwillalsoplayapartindeterminingthesystemcomponentsandtheir
size.
Thereareanumberofdifferentmethodsforsizingsystemcomponents.Thesemethodsvaryin
complexityandsophistication.Somearereadilycarriedoutbyrelativelyinexperiencedfirsttime
practitionersothersrequirecomputersoftwareandtrainedengineerswhounderstandhowtousethis
software.Thechoiceofmethodusedtodesignsystemcomponentswilldependlargelyonthefollowing
factors:
thesizeandsophisticationofthesystemanditscomponents
theavailabilityofthetoolsrequiredforusingaparticularmethod(e.g.computers)
theskillandeducationlevelsofthepractitioner/designer
Belowwewilloutline3differentmethodsforsizingRWHsystemcomponents.

Method1demandsideapproach
Averysimplemethodistocalculatethelargeststoragerequirementbasedontheconsumptionratesand
occupancyofthebuilding.
Asasimpleexamplewecanusethefollowingtypicaldata:
Consumptionpercapitaperday,C20litres
Numberofpeopleperhousehold,n6
Longestaveragedryperiod25days
Annualconsumption=Cxnx365=43,800litres
Storagerequirement,T=(43,800x25)/365=3,000litres
Thissimplemethodassumessufficientrainfallandcatchmentareawhichisadequate,andistherefore
onlyapplicableinareaswherethisisthesituation.Itisamethodforacquiringroughestimatesoftank
size.

Method2supplysideapproach
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Inlowrainfallareasorareaswheretherainfallisofunevendistribution,morecarehastobetakentosize
thestorageproperly.Duringsomemonthsoftheyeartheremaybeanexcessofwater,whileatother
timestherewillbeadeficit(seefigure1).Ifthereissufficientwaterthroughouttheyeartomeetthe
demand,thensufficientstoragewillberequiredtobridgetheperiodsofscarcity.Asstorageisexpensive,
thisshouldbedonecarefullytoavoidunnecessaryexpense.

Figure1:AveragerainfallforBiharamuloDistrict

TheexamplegivenhereisasimplespreadsheetcalculationforasiteinNorthWesternTanzania.The
rainfallstatisticsweregleanedfromanurseatthelocalhospitalwhohadbeenkeepingrecordsforthe
previous12years.Averagefiguresfortherainfalldatawereusedtosimplifythecalculation,andno
reliabilitycalculationisdone.ThisisatypicalfieldapproachtoRWHstoragesizing.
Example
Site:Medicaldispensary,Ruganzu,BiharamuloDistrict,Kagera,Tanzania(1997)
Demand:
Numberofstaff:7
Staffconsumption:45litresperdayx7=315litresperday
Patients:40
Patientconsumption:10litresperdayx40=400litresperday
Totaldemand:715litresperdayor21.75cubicmetrespermeanmonth
Supply:
Roofarea:190m2
Runoffcoefficient(fornewcorrugatedGIroof):0.9
Averageannualrainfall:1056mmperyear
Annualavailablewater(assumingalliscollected)=190x1.056x0.9=180.58m
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Annualavailablewater(assumingalliscollected)=190x1.056x0.9=180.58m3
Dailyavailablewater=180.58/365=0.4947m3/dayor494.7litresperdayor15.05cubicmetres
permeanmonth
So,ifwewanttosupplywateralltheyeartomeettheneedsofthedispensary,thedemand
cannotexceed494.7litresperday.Theexpecteddemandcannotbemetbytheavailable
harvestedwater.Carefulwatermanagementwillthereforeberequired.

Figure2:comparisonoftheharvestablewaterandthedemandforeach
month

Figure2showsthecomparisonofwaterharvestedandtheamountthatcanbesuppliedtothe
dispensaryusingallthewaterwhichisharvested.Itcanbenotedthatthereisasinglerainyseason.The
firstmonththattherainfallontheroofmeetsthedemandisOctober.Ifwethereforeassumethatthe
tankisemptyattheendofSeptemberwecanformagraphofcumulativeharvestedwaterand
cumulativedemandandfromthiswecancalculatethemaximumstoragerequirementforthe
dispensary.

Figure3:showingthepredictedcumulativeinflowandoutflowfromthe
tank.ThemaximumstoragerequirementoccursinApril

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Table1showsthespreadsheetcalculationforsizingthestoragetank.Ittakesintoconsiderationthe
accumulatedinflowandoutflowfromthetankandthecapacityofthetankiscalculatedasthegreatest
excessofwateroverandaboveconsumption.ThisoccursinAprilwithastoragerequirementof50.45
cubicmetres.Allthiswaterwillhavetobestoredtocovertheshortfallduringthedryperiod.

Table1

Month

Rainfall(mm)

Rainfall

Cumulative

Demand

Cumulative

Difference

harvested

rainfall

(basedon

demand

between

(cubic

harvested

total

metres)

(cubic

utilisation)

metres)

(cubic column4and

metres)
Oct

88

15.05

15.05

15.05

15.05

0.00

Nov

124

21.20

36.25

15.05

30.10

6.16

Dec

134

22.91

59.17

15.05

45.14

14.02

Jan

114

19.49

78.66

15.05

60.19

18.47

Feb

101

17.27

95.93

15.05

75.24

20.69

Mar

136

23.26

119.19

15.05

90.29

28.90

Apr

214

36.59

155.78

15.05

105.34

50.45

May

75

12.83

168.61

15.05

120.38

48.22

Jun

0.51

169.12

15.05

135.43

33.69

Jul

0.86

169.97

15.05

150.48

19.49

Aug

15

2.57

172.54

15.05

165.53

7.01

Sep

47

8.04

180.58

15.05

180.58

0.00

Totals

180.58

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180.58
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Method3computermodel
Thereareseveralcomputerbasedprogrammesforcalculatingtanksizequiteaccurately.Onesuch
programme,knownasSimTanka,hasbeenwrittenbyanIndianorganisationandisavailablefreeof
chargeontheWorldWideWeb.TheAjitFoundationisaregisterednonprofitvoluntaryorganisationwith
itsmainofficeinJaipur,IndiaanditscommunityresourcecentreinBikaner,India.
SimTankaisasoftwareprogrammeforsimulatingperformanceofrainwaterharvestingsystemswith
coveredwaterstoragetank.SuchsystemsarecalledTankainwesternpartsofthestateofRajasthanin
India.
Theideaofacomputersimulationistopredicttheperformanceofarainwaterharvestingsystembased
onthemathematicalmodeloftheactualsystem.InparticularSimTankasimulatesthefluctuatingrainfall
onwhichtherainwaterharvestingsystemisdependent.
Rainwaterharvestingsystemsareoftendesignedusingsomestatisticalindicatoroftherainfallforagiven
place,liketheaveragerainfall.Whentherainfallismeagreandshowslargefluctuationsthenadesign
basedonanysinglestatisticalindicatorcanbemisleading.SimTankatakesintoaccountthefluctuations
intherainfall,givingeachfluctuationitsrightimportancefordeterminingthesizeoftherainwater
harvestingsystem.Theresultofthesimulationallowsyoutodesignarainwaterharvestingsystemthat
willmeetdemandsreliably,thatis,itallowsyoutofindtheminimumcatchmentareaandthesmallest
possiblestoragetankthatwillmeetyourdemandwithprobabilityofupto95%inspiteofthefluctuations
intherainfall.OryoucanuseSimTankatofindoutwhatfractionofyourtotaldemandcanbemet
reliably.
SimTankarequiresatleast15yearsofmonthlyrainfallrecordsfortheplaceatwhichtherainwater
harvestingsystemislocated.Ifyoudonothavetherainfallrecordfortheplacethentherainfallrecord
fromthenearestplacewhichhasthesamePATTERNofrainfallcanbeused.
Theincludedutility,RainRecorder,isusedforenteringtherainfalldata.Dailyconsumptionperpersonis
alsoenteredandthenthesoftwarewillcalculateoptimumstoragesizeorcatchmentsizedependingon
therequirementsoftheuser.SimTankaalsocalculatesthereliabilityofthesystembasedontherainfall
dataoftheprevious15years.
SimTankaisfreeandisandwasdevelopedbytheAjitFoundationinthespiritthatitmightbeusefulfor
meetingthewaterneedsofsmallcommunitiesinasustainableandreliablemanner.Butnoguarantiesof
anykindareimplied.
Formoreinformationortodownloadthesoftwareseetheirwebsiteat
http://homepage.mac.com/vsvyas/science.html
(Source:theinformationgivenhereistakenfromthiswebsite).

Furthercomments
Thesemethodsoutlinedabovecanbefurtherrefinedwherenecessarytousedailyrainfalldata.Thisis
particularlyimportantinareaswhererainfallismoreevenlydistributedandmoresensitivecalculations
arenecessary.
Rainfalldatacanbeobtainedfromavarietyofsources.Thefirstpointofcallshouldbethenational
meteorologicalorganisationforthecountryinquestion.Insomedevelopingcountries,however,statistics
arelimitedduetolackofresourcesandothersourcesareoftenworthseeking.LocalWaterDepartments
ororganisations,localhospitalsorschoolsareallpossiblesourcesofinformation.
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Inrealitythecostofthetankmaterialswilloftengovernthechoiceoftanksize.Inothercases,suchas
largeRWHprogrammes,standardsizesoftankareusedregardlessofconsumptionpatterns,roofsizeor
numberofindividualusers.

Tankefficiencyandthecasefordiminishingreturns
Ondayswhenrainfallisheavy,theflowintoatankishigherthantheoutflowdrawnbywaterusers.A
smalltankwillsoonbecomefullandthenstarttooverflow.Aninefficientsystemisonewhere,taken
oversayayear,thatoverflowconstitutesasignificantfractionofthewaterflowingintothetank.
Insufficientstoragevolumeishowevernottheonlycauseofinefficiency:poorgutteringwillfailtocatch
waterduringintenserain,leakingtankswilllosewater,andanoversizeroofwillinterceptmorerainfall
thanisneeded.
Storageefficiency(%)=100x(1overflow/inflow)providedthatinflow<demand
Systemefficiency(%)=100xwaterused/waterfallingontheroof
Inthedryseason,asmalltankmayrundry,forcinguserstoseekwaterfromalternativesources.
Unreliabilitymightbeexpressedaseitherthefractionoftime(e.g.ofdays)whenthetankisdryorthe
fractionofannualwaterusethathastobedrawnfromelsewhere.ARWHsystemmayshowunreliability
notonlybecausestorageissmall,butbecausetheroofareaisinsufficient.Figure4showshowreliability,
expressedasafractionofyear,varieswithstoragevolume(expressedasamultipleofdailyconsumption)
fortwolocationsclosetotheEquatorandthereforebothwithdoublerainyseasons.

Figure4:Availabilityofrainwatersupplyasafractionoftheyearl

Fromthisgraphonecanseethatincreasingstoragesize,andthereforecost,givesdiminishingreturns.
Forexamplelookatthelefthandcolumnofeachtriplet(Kyenjojowithroofsizedsuchthataverage
annualwaterdemandisonly80%ofaverageannualroofrunoff).Assumingasay100litresperday
demand,showsthatincreasingstoragefrom1day(100l)to16days(1600l)raisesthereliabilityfrom
31%to78%,butstoragehastobeincreasedashighas128days(12,800l)toachieve99%reliability.
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SuchhighreliabilityissoexpensivethatitisanunrealisticdesignobjectiveforaDRWsysteminapoor
country.Inanycase,asweshallseebelow,usersmaychangebehavioursoastoreducetheeffective
unreliabilityoftheirsystems.

Systemfeatures(thataffecttanksizing)
Anoversizeroofslightlyextentcompensatesforanundersizetank.
Ifusersareableandwillingtoadjusttheirconsumptiondownwardsduringdryseasons,orwhen
theyfindwaterlevelsintheirtanklowerthanaverage,tankscanbesizedsmaller.
PartialRWHsystems,eitherwhereitisacceptedthatRWwillnotmeetneedsthroughoutthe
yearorwhererainwaterisonlyusedtomeetspecificwaterneedslikecooking/drinking,canbe
builtwithsurprisinglysmalltanks.
ThereliabilitylevelappropriatetothedesignofaRWHsystemriseswiththecost(inmoney,effort
orevenillhealth)ofthealternativesourcethatisusedwhenthetankrunsdry.

Rainfalldata
Rainfallisveryvariable,especiallywhereannualprecipitationislessthan500mm.Italsovarieswith
location,sothatdatafromaraingaugingstation20kmawaymaybemisleadingwhenappliedtothesite
oftheRWHsystem.Fromthelowesttothehighestqualityofrainfalldatawecanthinkofatleast6
categories:
Nonumericaldataavailable,butofcourselocalpeopleknowquitewelltheseasonalityof
precipitationandwhichcropswillgrow(withwhatsortofwaterstressfailurerate).
Thereisnonumericaldata,butRWHhasbeenpractisedforlongenoughlocallyforpeopletohave
afeelforwhatisanadequatetanksize.
Onlyannualaveragerainfallisavailable,probablyatasomewhatdistantrecordingpoint,pluslocal
knowledgeofseasonality.
Monthlyrainfall,averagedoveratleast4years,canbeobtained.
Actualmonthlyrainfallrecordsforatleast4years,andpreferably7years,areavailableforthesite
orforalocationsufficientlynearbytogiveconfidenceorallowsomesystematiccorrectiontobe
applied.
Dailyrainfalldataforarelevantlocationandlastingatleast4yearsisavailable.
Dailydataisadequateforalldesignmethodsexceptperhapstheoptimisationofguttersforwhichrainfall
intensitydataisuseful(e.g.thefractionofannualprecipitationfallingataratefasterthansay1mmper
minute).Rainfalldatacanbeexpensivetopurchaseandisoftenhardtolocateevenwhereitexists.
Obviouslymethodsofsizingtanksthatrequireasaninputrainfalldataofasortthatisnotlocally
availableshouldnotbeused.

Contactus:
Telephone:(0)2476528193
Email:Engineering@warwick.ac.uk
Pagecontact:TerenceThomas
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