Dec 13, 2010

Ontario Publishes New Guidelines on Rainwater Harvesting

Series of one-day seminars will be offered for education on the guidelines

One way of conserving water is with rainwater harvesting (RWH), the practice of collecting rainwater and storing it for later use.

Water conservation is one of many issues at the forefront of efforts to improve management of water resources and reduce municipal costs associated with water treatment and distribution. One way of conserving water is with rainwater harvesting (RWH), the practice of collecting rainwater and storing it for later use. Research conducted by the Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA), through the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), showed that RWH systems in commercial and industrial buildings can lower annual water use for toilet flushing and grounds irrigation by between 59% and 76%, while reducing storm water runoff from roofs by up to 42%. In a study of rainwater harvesting in suburban homes, the University of Guelph reported savings of 60,000 to 70,000 liters of water annually, reducing a typical family's water bill by 30% to 40%.
The Ontario Guidelines for Residential Rainwater Harvesting Systems have been published to help builders, engineers, contractors, municipalities, community groups and DIY homeowners implement rainwater harvesting projects. These guidelines, the first of their kind in the province, were developed over the course of a four-year collaborative process, involving researchers from the University of Guelph (under the direction of Dr. Khosrow Farahbakhsh), the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Connect the Drops and members of the province's private sector. It draws upon the experience of Ontario's experts in the field, ensuring that issues that are uniquely Canadian, like building RWH systems to handle Canada's cold weather climate, are covered.
"With the publication of the Ontario Guidelines for Residential Rainwater Harvesting Systems, Ontario's practitioners will have the guidance and tools they need to make our Province a leader in implementing this innovative approach to water conservation and storm water management," said Chris Despins, president, Connect the Drops.
The guidelines cover a variety of topics, including sizing rainwater storage tanks, installation of rainwater (non-potable water) plumbing and rainwater treatment, as well as how to design RWH systems to operate during dry periods and handle overflows from the tank. The document focuses upon residential applications, but is also a valuable tool to assist with the design, installation and management of RWH systems in ICI (industrial, commercial and institutional) buildings.
To help promote rainwater harvesting throughout Ontario, the Toronto and Region Conservation is partnering with Connect the Drops to deliver a series of rainwater harvesting training seminars based on the new guidelines. The first one-day training course will be offered on Feb. 9, 2011.
The one-day training seminars will focus upon the regulatory and technical aspects of RWH systems for both residential and ICI buildings. The course is targeted at contractors, builders, designers, architects, regulators or anyone interested in learning about the design, installation and management of RWH systems.

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