Modeling the Effect of Cistern Size, Soil Type, and Irrigation Scheduling on Rainwater Harvesting as a Stormwater Control Measure Academic Article uri icon


  • Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014. Urban stormwater runoff could have negative impacts on water resources and the environment. Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) can serve both as a stormwater control and water conservation measure. Cistern size and irrigation scheduling are two of the factors that directly impact the total runoff from a residential unit with a RWH system and the amount of potable water used for irrigation. The effectiveness of RWH was evaluated for four soil types; Sand, Sandy Loam, Loamy Sand, and Silty Clay, with a root zone of 15.2 cm using three irrigation scheduling methods (Evapotranspiration (ET)-based, soil moisture-based, and time-based), and five cistern sizes. Total runoff volumes and total supplemental potable water used were compared among the three irrigation scheduling systems and a control treatment without RWH. A model was developed to simulate the daily water balance for the treatments. Irrigation and runoff volumes were compared for the various scenarios. Silty clay soil resulted with 83 % more runoff than Sandy soil, while Sandy soil required on average 58 % more supplemental water than Silty Clay soil. On average, the 833 L cistern resulted with 41 % savings in water supply and 45 % reduction in total runoff. Results showed that the greatest volumes of runoff predicted were for the silty clay soil Control Treatment using a time-based irrigation scheduling method, while the least volumes calculated were for the sandy loam soil time-based irrigation scheduling treatment with 833 L cistern size. The greatest volumes of total supplemental water predicted were for sandy loam soil Control Treatment, while the least volumes were for silty clay soil ET-based irrigation scheduling treatment with 833 L cistern size. Regression equations were developed to allow for users to select a RWH cistern size based on the amount of water they want to save or runoff to reduce.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Shannak, S. A., Jaber, F. H., & Lesikar, B. J.

citation count

  • 18

publication date

  • September 2014