Potential of Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater Reuse for Water Consumption Reduction and Wastewater Minimization
Abstract, Water, 2016 June
Northeastern Mexico is a semiarid region with water scarcity and a strong pressure on water sources caused by the rapid increase of population and industrialization. In this region, rainwater harvesting alone is not enough to meet water supply demands due to the irregular distribution of rainfall in time and space. Thus, in this study the reliability of integrating rainwater harvesting with greywater reuse to reduce water consumption and minimize wastewater generation in the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey Campus, was assessed. Potable water consumption and greywater generation in main facilities of the campus were determined. Rainwater that can be potentially harvested in roofs and parking areas of the campus was estimated based on a statistical analysis of the rainfall. Based on these data, potential water savings and wastewater minimization were determined. Characterization of rainwater and greywater was carried out to determine the treatment necessities for each water source. Additionally, the capacity of water storage tanks was estimated. For the selected treatment systems, an economic assessment was conducted to determine the viability of the alternatives proposed. Results showed that water consumption can be reduced by 48% and wastewater generation can be minimized by 59%. Implementation of rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse systems in the Monterrey Campus will generate important economic benefits to the institution. Amortization of the investments will be achieved in only six years, where the net present value (NPV) will be on the order of US $50,483.2, the internal rate of return (IRR) of 4.6% and the benefits–investment ratio (B/I) of 1.7. From the seventh year, the project will present an IRR greater than the minimum acceptable rate of return (MARR). In a decade, the IRR will be 14.4%, more than twice the MARR, the NPV of US $290,412.1 and the B/I of 3.1, denoting economic feasibility. Based on these results, it is clear that integrating rainwater harvesting with greywater reuse resulted in a more feasible and reliable strategy than those strategies based only on rainwater harvesting. Furthermore, the investments can be amortized in a shorter period of time.