Rainwater Harvesting Program

Rainwater Harvesting Program

Project Leads: Chia-Yun (Jocelyn) Tsai

Project Sponsor: UC Berkeley Real Estate, Construction, and Design Department

TGIF Grant: $24,076

Project Theme: Water Conservation

Application Submission

Project Description: The Rainwater Harvesting Project was founded with the ideals of sustainability and conservation firmly rooted in mind. It aims to address two issues: UC Berkeley mostly uses municipally supplied water that is treated to the standards of drinking water for irrigation, while rainwater from many campus-building rooftops is diverted directly into Strawberry Creek without filtration. Additional money and energy resources are wasted when potable water is consumed for non-potable demands and excess chlorine from treated water runs off into the stream during rain events as well. Furthermore, the rainfall in Berkeley, which averages 26.74 inches each year, is simply diverted into Strawberry Creek without treatment; this is a waste of precious water resource in our drought-prone state, and poses a negative impact on the local creek. Pollutants such as nutrients, organic material, debris pollutants, and pathogens that accumulate on roof surfaces are washed into Strawberry Creek during storm events without being filtered through vegetation, affecting water quality of the creek. This project will tackle the issues presented above by creating a rainwater harvesting system along with a bioswale at the Hearst Field Annex Buildings to collect rainwater for irrigation and to filter storm water. Rainwater collected will be directly supplying for the 8208 square feet lawn at the center of Hearst Field Annex with the original municipal water as back-up supply.

Project Goals:

  1. Reduce potable water use for irrigation
  2. Localize water source
  3. Decrease storm water runoff that carries unfiltered pollutants into Strawberry Creek
  4. Promote the concept of rainwater harvesting and water conservation
  5. Allow for groundwater recharge