Impact of residential rainwater harvesting on stormwater runoff

J Environ Manage. 2023 Jan 15;326(Pt B):116814. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.116814. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


Population increase, climate change and soil impermeability are factors causing floods in large urban centres. Such places also always have water shortage problems. This research aims to evaluate the influence of rainwater harvesting in residential buildings on stormwater in a basin located in southern Brazil (Rio Cachoeira Basin). Urbanised and non-urbanised areas, soil types, curve numbers and time of concentration of each sub-basin were taken into account. Through the HEC-HMS programme, it was possible to calculate hydrographs for the base scenario (when there is no rainwater harvesting). Then, rainwater tanks for the residential buildings were sized using the computer programme Netuno. In the second scenario, there is rainwater harvesting in all residential buildings. Thus, the hydrographs for the second scenario were also calculated. The peak flow reduction potentials for the sub-basins ranged from 2.7% to 14.3%. The highest percentage (14.3%) did not occur in the sub-basin with the most extensive roof area; such highest peak flow reduction occurred in Bom Retiro sub-basin. In Bom Retiro sub-basin, there are more houses than multi-storey residential buildings. Even when considering the full potential of rainwater harvesting for roof areas of all existing buildings in the Rio Cachoeira Basin, the average potential reduction in peak flow was 7.2%. The conclusion is that rainwater tanks in residential buildings have little influence on stormwater runoff, and the stormwater runoff will be less affected when the area of the hydrographic basin is larger. Thus, the reduction in peak flows is insignificant when considering the flooding in the region.

Keywords: Computer simulation; Floods; Rainwater harvesting; Residential buildings; Stormwater runoff.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Floods*
  • Soil
  • Water Movements
  • Water Pollution*


  • Soil