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Tuesday 02 Feb 2016Can we achieve safe, sustainable and resilient rainwater harvesting?

Dr Sarah Ward - Centre for Water Systems University of Exeter

Harrison 170 13:30-14:30

Abstract Responses to a range of threats, such as climate change and population growth, include interventions such as mitigation, adaptation, coping and learning. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) can be considered a mitigation or adaptation intervention, depending on the threat under focus. However, ensuring RWH systems are safe (reliable, have low health impact), sustainable (maintain a level of service whilst maximising social economic and environmental goals) and resilient (minimise level of service failure magnitude and duration when subject to exceptional conditions) requires a reconfiguration of the design and operation of 'traditional' RWH systems, as well as a reshaping of the way RWH is viewed by regulators and policy makers. This presentation will aim to show that the RWH niche and emerging RWH systems are some way along this 'safe and SuRe' journey. Bio Sarah is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Water Systems. Her research uses mixed methods to examine empirical and socio-technical aspects of sustainable water management (SWM), including alternative water supply systems (AWSS) such as rainwater harvesting (RWH). Her past and ongoing work on RWH has contributed to the present trajectory of innovation in the UK RWH sector, as well as receiving international attention from the RWH, AWSS and SWM communities. At present her research includes: (i) real-world assessment of demonstration-scale RWH technologies; and (ii) identifying and applying appropriate theories and analytics from science & technology and innovation sciences within a water management context. Sarah also runs a social enterprise, ‘RainShare’, through which she works with communities to explore opportunities for proactively managing roof runoff in their community spaces. She is interested in exploring the potential socio-technical contribution of community-based action to SWM.

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