Quantity and quality assessment of rainwater extracted from the roof for drinking water

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran.


Roof rainwater harvesting is considered an important alternative source where contaminated surface and groundwater resources are limited or not readily available. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quantity and quality of water extracted from rainwater harvesting systems for drinking water production at Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University. To investigate the potential for rainwater harvesting within the university, one of the student dormitory buildings with a roof area of 850 m2 and a capacity of 300 students was considered. Daily rainfall data of Dasht-e Naz station in Sari in the period 2000 to 2018 were used as inputs of the water balance model to determine the appropriate volume of the rainwater storage tank. Also, in order to evaluate the quality of water collected from the roof, sampling from the roof outlet and some important physical, chemical and microbial parameters were measured. According to the results, the volume of the storage tank of 30 m3 in the dormitory with Volumetric and time reliability of 29 and 29.5 percent, respectively, was considered appropriate. The results showed that at the implementation of this system, about 309 m3 of town water consumption will be saved annually. The results also show that the direct use of collected water for drinking purposes is limited. Accordingly, according to the amount of water produced annually, it is recommended to use a UV system for disinfection and microbial purification while using a sand tank to improve physical parameters (turbidity).


Main Subjects

  1. Ahmed, J., Wong, L. P., Chua, Y. P., & Channa, N. (2020). Drinking water quality mapping using water quality index and geospatial analysis in primary schools of Pakistan. Water, 12(12), 3382.
  2. Al-Batsh, N., Al-Khatib, I. A., Ghannam, S., Anayah, F., Jodeh, S., Hanbali, G., . . . van der Valk, M. (2019). Assessment of rainwater harvesting systems in poor rural communities: A case study from Yatta Area, Palestine. Water, 11(3), 585.
  3. Alim, M. A., Rahman, A., Tao, Z., Samali, B., Khan, M. M., & Shirin, S. (2020). Feasibility analysis of a small-scale rainwater harvesting system for drinking water production at Werrington, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Cleaner Production, 270, 122437.
  4. Al-Khatib, I. A., Arafeh, G. A., Al-Qutob, M., Jodeh, S., Hasan, A., Jodeh, D., & van der Valk, M. (2019). Health risk associated with some trace and some heavy metals content of harvested rainwater in Yatta area, Palestine. Water, 11(2), 238.
  5. Amin, M., Kim, T. i., Amin, M., & Han, M. (2013). Effects of Catchment, First‐Flush, Storage Conditions, and Time on Microbial Quality in Rainwater Harvesting Systems. Water Environment Research, 85(12), 2317-2329.
  6. Bakhtfirouz, A. (2011). Study the effect of drainage systems on methane and carbon dioxide gas emissions from paddy fields (Case Study: Sari Aria). (M.Sc.), Sari Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources University. (In Persian)
  7. Brown, R. M., McClelland, N. I., Deininger, R. A., & Tozer, R. G. (1970). A water quality index-do we dare. Water and sewage works, 117(10).
  8. Clark, P. A., Pinedo, C. A., Fadus, M., & Capuzzi, S. (2012). Slow-sand water filter: Design, implementation, accessibility and sustainability in developing countries. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research,18(7), RA105.
  9. Förster, J. (1996). Patterns of roof runoff contamination and their potential implications on practice and regulation of treatment and local infiltration. Water science and technology, 33(6), 39-48.
  10. Ghisi, E., Bressan, D. L., & Martini, M. (2007). Rainwater tank capacity and potential for potable water savings by using rainwater in the residential sector of southeastern Brazil. Building and Environment42(4), 1654-1666.‏
  11. Gholamhossien pour jafari nejad, A., Alizadeh, A., & Neshat, A. (2013). Study on Ecological Water Footprint and indicators of virtual water in Agricultural Section of Kerman Province. Irrigation and Water Engineering, 4(1), 80-89. (In Persian)
  12. Haque, M. M., Rahman, A., & Samali, B. (2016). Evaluation of climate change impacts on rainwater harvesting. Journal of Cleaner Production, 137, 60-69.
  13. He, W., Wallinder, I. O., & Leygraf, C. (2001). A laboratory study of copper and zinc runoff during first flush and steady-state conditions. Corrosion science, 43(1), 127-146.
  14. Hedegaard, M. J., & Albrechtsen, H.-J. (2014). Microbial pesticide removal in rapid sand filters for drinking water treatment–potential and kinetics. Water Research, 48, 71-81.
  15. Hofman-Caris, R., Bertelkamp, C., de Waal, L., van den Brand, T., Hofman, J., van der Aa, R., & van der Hoek, J. P. (2019). Rainwater harvesting for drinking water production: a sustainable and cost-effective solution in the Netherlands? Water, 11(3), 511.
  16. Imteaz, M. A., Adeboye, O. B., Rayburg, S., & Shanableh, A. (2012). Rainwater harvesting potential for southwest Nigeria using daily water balance model. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 62, 51-55.
  17. Imteaz, M. A., Ahsan, A., Naser, J., & Rahman, A. (2011). Reliability analysis of rainwater tanks in Melbourne using daily water balance model. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 56(1), 80-86.
  18. IPCC, C. C. (2014). Synthesis report: approved summary for policymakers. IPCC, Geneva.
  19. Iran Department of Environment (2016). Iranian water quality standard. (In Persian).
  20. Iran Department of Environment. (2012). Guideline for Iran water quality Index. (In Persian).
  21. Iran Deputy for Strategic Supervision. (2010). Environmental criteria for the reuse of returned water and wastewater. (In Persian).
  22. Islam, M. M., Afrin, S., Tarek, M. H., & Rahman, M. M. (2021). Reliability and financial feasibility assessment of a community rainwater harvesting system considering precipitation variability due to climate change. Journal of environmental management, 289, 112507.‏
  23. Jarvis, P., Autin, O., Goslan, E. H., & Hassard, F. (2019). Application of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LED) to full-scale drinking-water disinfection. Water, 11(9), 1894.
  24. Jenkins, D., & Pearson, F. (1978). Feasibility of rainwater collection systems in California. Contribution-California. University.
  25. John, D. M., Whitton, B. A., Brook, A. J., York, P. V., & Johnson, L. R. (2002). The freshwater algal flora of the British Isles: an identification guide to freshwater and terrestrial algae: Cambridge University Press.
  26. Karim, M. R., Bashar, M. Z. I., & Imteaz, M. A. (2015). Reliability and economic analysis of urban rainwater harvesting in a megacity in Bangladesh. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 104, 61-67.
  27. Khastagir, A., & Jayasuriya, N. (2010). Optimal sizing of rain water tanks for domestic water conservation. Journal of Hydrology, 381(3-4), 181-188.
  28. Kingsborough, A., Borgomeo, E., & Hall, J. W. (2016). Adaptation pathways in practice: Mapping options and trade-offs for London’s water resources. Sustainable Cities and Society, 27, 386-397.
  29. Kirs, M., Moravcik, P., Gyawali, P., Hamilton, K., Kisand, V., Gurr, I., . . . Ahmed, W. (2017). Rainwater harvesting in American Samoa: current practices and indicative health risks. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(13), 12384-12392.
  30. Kolavani, N. J., & Kolavani, N. J. (2020). Technical feasibility analysis of rainwater harvesting system implementation for domestic use. Sustainable Cities and Society, 62, 102340.
  31. Lye, D. J. (2009). Rooftop runoff as a source of contamination: A review. Science of the total environment, 407(21), 5429-5434.
  32. Martinson, D. (2007). Improving the viability of roofwater harvesting in low-income countries. School of Engineering, University of Warwick.
  33. Mazhar, M. A., Khan, N. A., Ahmed, S., Khan, A. H., Hussain, A., Changani, F., . . . Vambol, V. (2020). Chlorination disinfection by-products in municipal drinking water–a review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 273, 123159. (In Persian)
  34. McGuigan, K. G., Conroy, R. M., Mosler, H.-J., du Preez, M., Ubomba-Jaswa, E., & Fernandez-Ibanez, P. (2012). Solar water disinfection (SODIS): a review from bench-top to roof-top. Journal of hazardous materials, 235, 29-46.
  35. Meera, V., & Mansoor Ahammed, M. (2018). Factors affecting the quality of roof-harvested rainwater. In Urban Ecology, Water Quality and Climate Change (pp. 195-202): Springer.
  36. Mokhtari, S. A., Fazlzadeh Davil, M., & Dorraji, B. (2011). Survey of Bacteriological Quality of the Drinking Water in Rural Areas of Ardabil City. Journal of Health, 2(1), 66-73. (In Persian)
  37. Nachshon, U., Netzer, L., & Livshitz, Y. (2016). Land cover properties and rain water harvesting in urban environments. Sustainable Cities and Society, 27, 398-406.
  38. Pahlevani, P. (2017). Evaluating the Potential of Rainwater Quantity and Quality from Roof Catchments in Different Climatic Conditions (Case study: Noor and Mashhad cities). (MSc), Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. (In Persian)
  39. Park, S.-k., & Hu, J. Y. (2010). Assessment of the extent of bacterial growth in reverse osmosis system for improving drinking water quality. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A, 45(8), 968-977.
  40. Rahman, S., Khan, M., Akib, S., Din, N. B. C., Biswas, S., & Shirazi, S. (2014). Sustainability of rainwater harvesting system in terms of water quality. The Scientific World Journal, 2014.
  41. Ranaee, E., Abbasi, A. A., Tabatabaee Yazdi, J., & Ziyaee, M. (2021). Feasibility of Rainwater Harvesting and Consumption in a Middle Eastern Semiarid Urban Area. Water, 13(15), 2130.
  42. Sadoddin, A., Beyrodiyan, N., Karimi, D., Naeimi, A., Bai, M., & Jandaghi, N. (2012). Feasibility study of appropriate technology for rooftop rainwater harvesting system for The Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Retrieved from The Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource (Research report), 103p. (In Persian).
  43. Sarrafzade, M. H., & Rezaee, M. (2014). Quality of Rainwater Collected from the Roof and Its Treatment Methods. Journal of Rainwater Catchment Systems, 2(3), 41-52. (In Persian)
  44. Sobsey, M. D., Water, S., & Organization, W. H. (2002). Managing water in the home: accelerated health gains from improved water supply. Retrieved from
  45. Steffen, J., Jensen, M., Pomeroy, C. A., & Burian, S. J. (2013). Water supply and stormwater management benefits of residential rainwater harvesting in US cities. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 49(4), 810-824.
  46. Taran, F., & Mahtabi, G. (2016). Investigation of Supplying Water Requirements in Different Parts of a City through Rainwater Harvesting ;a Case Study Bonab, Iran. Irrigation and Water Engineering, 7(1), 40-53. (In Persian)
  47. Tavakol-Davani, H., Goharian, E., Hansen, C. H., Tavakol-Davani, H., Apul, D., & Burian, S. J. (2016). How does climate change affect combined sewer overflow in a system benefiting from rainwater harvesting systems? Sustainable Cities and Society, 27, 430-438.
  48. WHO, G. (2011). Guidelines for drinking-water quality. World Health Organization, 216, 303-304.
  49. (2004). Guidelines for drinking-water quality (Vol. 1): World Health Organization.
  50. Zafarzadeh, A. (2006). The determination of water chemical quality of cisterns in rural areas of Golestan province. Journal of Gorgan University of Medical Sciences, 8(1), 51-54. (In Persian)
  51. Zhu, K., Zhang, L., Hart, W., Liu, M., & Chen, H. (2004). Quality issues in harvested rainwater in arid and semi-arid Loess Plateau of northern China. Journal of arid environments, 57(4), 487-505.