2014 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference



Pre-Conference Technical Workshop

November 2, 2014
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Register by: 10/14/14

Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Design, Implementation and Potential

Hosted by
AWRA National Capital Region Section
The Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies
American Rainwater Catchment Association

Convener and Moderator: Dr. Tamim Younos, Member AWRA, VP AWRA-NCR Section
Instructors: David Crawford, Sarah Lawson, David Sample, Benjamin Sojka and Tamim Younos

Workshop Description

The goal of this workshop is to increase knowledge and awareness about potential benefits of rainwater harvesting systems and introduce workshop participants to the design concept and implementation of modern rainwater harvesting systems.

A rainwater harvesting system (RWH) is defined as rooftop rainwater capture and various uses (indoor and outdoor) of captured rainwater. A modern rainwater harvesting system is considered a decentralized water infrastructure system which provides a significant opportunity for sustainable management of water resources, particularly in urban settings where building rooftops constitute 40% or more of impervious areas.

There is much interest in water reuse to increase sustainability of water supplies. It's ideal to manage water storage within a RWH system in order to increase stormwater runoff reduction benefits. Recently, RASP (Rainwater Analysis and Simulation Program), a RWH simulation model, was developed and applied to eight locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Specific objectives of the workshop are to describe:

  1. Rainwater harvesting system technology: rainwater capture, filtering, tank storage, plumbing & codes, cost and maintenance
  2. Rainwater harvesting system design - RASP model, its key variables and applications
  3. Rainwater harvesting case studies for stormwater runoff control, potable water savings and energy conservation
  4. Challenges facing implementation of rainwater harvesting systems

For Objective 2 above, workshop participants will be provided with a recently developed spreadsheet lifecycle cost model of a RWH system. The cost model estimates costs of tanks, pumps, and the cost of dual plumbing. These tools can be used by workshop participants to assess the cost effectiveness of selected RWH applications.

Planned Activities and Schedule

The workshop will be offered as lecture style in an interactive discussion with workshop participants. The duration of workshop will be 4 hours including a 10-15 minute break.

Time schedule

1:00 p.m. Introduction (Tamim Younos)
1:10 p.m. Rainwater harvesting system technology (David Crawford and Benjamin Sojka)
2:15 p.m. RASP (Rainwater Analysis and Simulation Program) model for RWH design and applications (David Sample)
3:30 p.m. Break
3:45 Case studies: Potable water savings and energy conservation (Sarah Lawson)
4:30 p.m. Q/A, interactive discussion and workshop summary (All instructors)
5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Description of takeaway for participants

Workshop participants' takeaway and learning experience will include:

  1. Understanding the importance of rainwater systems as a component of integrated and sustainable water resources management in urban and sub-urban environments
  2. Learning about the technology of modern rainwater harvesting systems, codes and regulations
  3. An understanding of how rainwater harvesting systems work, and their key design variables
  4. An understanding of a rainwater harvesting simulation model, RASP, and how RASP can be used in design
  5. An understanding of the main cost drivers of rainwater harvesting systems and how to assess benefits

**There are no prerequisites/requirements for taking the course. Laptops will be helpful but are optional.

Background of Instructors

Workshop instructors are professionals dedicated to rainwater harvesting research, design and implementation, and have collectively contributed to the design and implementation of hundreds of rainwater harvesting projects.

David Crawford is President of the company Rainwater Management Solutions which provides design, consulting, and engineering solutions for rain water and storm water management to commercial and residential developers, engineering, architectural firms, and professionals in the agricultural field. To date, the Salem, Virginia-based company has designed and/or installed over 2,000 rainwater systems across the country. Currently, David Crawford serves as the President of the American Rainwater Catchment Association (ARCSA) and has been an instructor for rainwater harvesting certification workshops offered by the ARCSA throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Sarah Lawson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Physics at Randolph College (Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia). Sarah Lawson has worked on the design of a wide variety of rainwater harvesting systems and served as principal author of the second edition of the Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual published by the Cabell Brand Center. Lawson developed a spreadsheet model that is used in the stormwater credit for rainwater harvesting systems in Virginia. Dr. Lawson is currently working on a research project assessing the water quality issues of residential rainwater harvesting systems.

David Sample, Ph.D., P.E. is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. David Sample earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Colorado (Boulder, CO) in Civil Engineering (Water resources). David Sample's research focuses upon improving the management of urban stormwater at its source. He has conducted research on several existing treatment practices, bioretention and rainwater harvesting, and an emerging technology, floating treatment wetlands; and is published in each. Dr. Sample is a registered professional engineer in 7 states, and is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. In 2008, Dr. Sample was appointed to the U.S. Chesapeake Bay Program Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). Dr. Sample has been a member of the Urban Water Resources Research Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers/Environmental and Water Resources Institute since 2003.

Benjamin Sojka is a partner in Rainwater Management Solutions and holds the position of Vice President of Design/Engineering. Benjamin Sojka has eighteen years of experience in site work and utility management and provides oversight to rainwater harvesting projects from planning stages to implementation. Benjamin is a graduate of The University of Virginia's school of Architecture under the tenure of Dean William McDonough and has assisted in the design and oversight to construction of multiple McDonough projects.

Dr. Tamim Younos, Member, AWRA, is President of the Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies, a non-profit organization dedicated to global water and energy sustainability. The CBC is a pioneer organization in rainwater harvesting research & design and has published the nationally recognized Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual. Dr. Younos previously served as a research professor of water resources at Virginia Tech. His research and educational interests include small-scale decentralized water infrastructure and rainwater harvesting systems, and the water and energy nexus in urban environments. Dr. Younos has published more than 150 research/technical articles and edited 4 books. Dr. Younos is also Vice President of the AWRA National Capitol Region Section.