Effect of connecting rain barrels on the storage size reduction

Yongwon Seo, Nam-Jeong Choi, Daeryong Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, the possibility of sharing rain barrels and the potential benefit of reducing storage size through physical and non-physical connections of rain barrels in a community are investigated. Using the concepts of homogeneous/heterogeneous users in rainwater harvesting systems (RWHS), two simple cases of a community composed of four prospective users are examined. The first is performed with the users who have the same mean and variance in water demands (homogeneous users), and the second is with the users with different means and variances (heterogeneous users). To take account for the rainfall characteristics in different places, historical records from six cities in the USA are used for storage-reliability-yield analysis. The result indicates that required total storage can be reduced by connecting multiple rain barrels. In addition, a significant difference is found between homogeneous and heterogeneous user groups. Homogeneous users do not achieve a substantial benefit from connecting their rain barrels; these users may even be disadvantaged by sharing. In contrast, heterogeneous users receive benefit by reducing the total required storage. Most benefit is expected between users with maximum difference in mean water demands. The reduction in storage size was as considerable as 37% in this study. The quantity of storage reduction depends on locations and target reliabilities. Knowledge of the benefits and limitations of rain barrel connections can improve RWHS performance through ability to customize a network plan for individual users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3538-3551
Number of pages14
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 15 2012


  • ISWS
  • RWHS
  • Storage size reduction
  • Water demand
  • Reliability
  • Rainwater harvesting system
  • Non-physical connection
  • Physical connection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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