Rainwater harvesting: a decentralized water system complementing the centralized water system
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Water in Atlanta is plentiful. However, it is just not managed very well. We use approximately 600,000,000 gallons of water each day (gpd) in metro Atlanta according to the Metro North Georgia Water District (MNGWD) and 20% of this water goes towards nonpotable use. The metro area covers 4832 square miles. If 1 inch of rain was evenly distributed over the 14 counties and could be captured, it could supply Atlanta’s water for 140 days. This same concept can be applied, but not quite as efficiently. Rain harvesting (RH) allows the capture of 0.625 gallons of water per inch per 1 inch of rain off a roof, but in reality just over 0.5 gallons of water per inch is realistically captured. RH can lose approximately 15- 20% during catchment depending on the roof and weather condition; however once in the tank the water loss is negligible. Rainwater can be stored, delivered and treated very efficiently using very little energy. This plan will explain how the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DOWM) and other utilities can use rainwater to supply their non-potable water needs and keep more of the revenues generated from the sale of this water. Through the practice of RH large municipal rooftops can be used to collect water for irrigation trucks and other non-potable needs. The clients will be charged, as are fire hydrant users of water providing a revenue stream for the city. The water will be distributed through blue fire hydrants on the street for easy access by using the meters currently available. The tanks can be set up on public property preferably owned by the city or on private property for others who may need this water and do not want to spend the money to build the system. Tanks can also be installed through out the city for community gardens, farms and parks to off set potable water use. The success will come from the economics of a more efficient and less expensive water source.