At the Water Efficient 2013 conference, a French study on long term reliability of rainwater harvesting systems showed that poor maintenance (e.g. blocked gutters) and product failures (e.g. broken pumps) led to serviceability failures of three-quarters of systems surveyed after just two years.
WRc’s collaborative Portfolio project CP501 is compiling objective evidence from studies like these to verify the risks and benefits of rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling to water company operations and therefore inform water company strategies in this area.
What is clear is that good training of installers and clear guidance to property owners will be critical in ensuring that systems meet expectations of the designer and customer, and as a minimum do not impact on human health (through cross-connections and contamination of drinking water).
There is an opportunity now, whilst the industry is still relatively young and alongside Defra’s planned work on water quality standards (for harvested and recycled water), to develop the agenda for installer training and so hopefully prevent bad practice from proliferating from the start.
For further information contact Julia Trew on 01793 865151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.