Water Quality Research Journal of Canada

Vol. 44 (1): 92 - 102 (2009). Innovative Approaches to Stormwater Management in Canada

Developing Capacity for Large-Scale Rainwater Harvesting in Canada

   Khosrow Farahbakhsh, Christopher Despins, Chantelle Leidl

Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is the ancient practice of capturing rainwater from impervious surfaces and storing it for future use. Harvesting roof runoff for domestic purposes has historically been prevalent in rural areas of Canada and the practice is currently experiencing revived interest and uptake in the urban environment. When implemented on a wide scale, RWH can contribute to both stormwater abatement and water conservation, serving to relieve pressure on existing infrastructure and potentially delay the need for infrastructure expansion. While such benefits are known, there remain several barriers that impede widespread implementation. These include cost, liability concerns, and a lack of clear policy for RWH. This paper outlines the benefits of RWH and describes findings of recent research that has attempted to develop some of the technical, administrative, and market capacity needed to overcome these barriers, focussing on water quality, design practices, economic analysis, and policy development.

integrated water resources management, low impact development, rainwater harvesting, stormwater management

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