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Clear evidence of techniques used for rainwater harvesting dates back to nearly 4000 years ago. However, the concept of rainwater harvesting may date back almost 6000 years in Ancient China (Che-Ani et al., 2009). It is evident that rainwater harvesting has been part of human history and identity. With modernization and massive urbanization, rainwater harvesting has now become part of the city’s identity. To increase efficiency, the concept of Smart Rainwater Harvesting is being introduced around leading cities. Smart Rainwater Harvesting is characterized by collecting real-time data via sensors in water sources, collection phases, storage phases, and application phases (Behdazian et al., 2018). The data is gathered in a centralized data collection unit where it is monitored and processed. The processed data is then used to make decisions and adapt to specific circumstances.

Smart Rainwater Harvesting systems by automated methods can release stormwater prior to rainfall occurring to enlarge the water captivity levels (Behdazian et al., 2018).  The main goal of rainwater harvesting systems is to collect and store rainwater during precipitation events for usage in non-drinking water applications (Pradhan & Sahoo, 2019). The smart part of this concept consists of the development of communicating assets integrated with the overall system (Xu et al., 2020). The system makes use of low-cost sensors combined with innovative communication technologies. The technological focus enables several new possibilities for the management of urban water infrastructure in a smart city framework. The performance of the system is strongly dependent on and interconnected with the quality of the weather forecast. The amount of precipitation and patterns of rainfall are integrated into the control strategy to determine discharge volume and closing time respectively (Pradhan & Sahoo, 2019).


Value Model

Cost-benefit assessment of the Solution.

City Context

What supporting factors and characteristics of a city is this Solution fit for? What factors would ease implementation?

The current increasing urbanization demands more facilities and more resources; this creates an imbalance in demand and supply. Thus, managing resources and facilities (e.g., water supply) in urban and rural areas becomes a challenging task for the urban planner and local governing bodies. Though novel solutions have been developed to tackle some of the challenges, there are still some issues not yet addressed. For instance, most highly urbanized cities are on the verge of severe water shortage which could be worst in the near future. However, in recent years, technological advancements, and resharpened opportunities for cities to deal with water supply and retention by adapting smart rainwater harvesting methods in their water management systems. According to Judeh et al., (2022), the most common smart rainwater harvesting phases used in the city context occur as follows:

  1. Collection Phase: In this phase, all the generated runoff either from the rooftop or the surface will be collected.
  2. Storage Phase: The collected runoff will be stored in tanks (for every household) and ponds (constructed at an appropriate location in or nearby urban catchment). The excess water which exceeds the storage limit either diverted to natural stream through drainage system or routed through low impact zones to promote the ground water recharge.
  3. Application Phase: At this phase, this stored water can be utilized for potable and non-potable uses like domestic use, industry, gardening, landscaping, etc. The re-use of rainwater in urban catchments reduces water demand, quantity of surface runoff, flooding, and pollutants due to the storm water.

The data will be collected at every stage of rainwater harvesting and sent to a centralized data storage unit, where all collected data will be stored. Thereafter, this data will be used in two different classes for monitoring:

  • Storage versus consumption and inflow versus outflow
  • Inflow versus outflow and groundwater recharge.

These monitored data can then be processed at the processing unit for further analysis and used to draw meaningful output. Following this, the decision can be made for future planning by considering variation in demand and supply over time. Climate change and population growth should be incorporated when making long term strategies.

Supporting Factors

  1. Deploying enabling ICT infrastructure such as Smart Meters and sensors in existing and new Rainwater Harvesting collection points
  2. Fostering standardisation and common interoperable communication protocols for co-ordination among system operators
  3. Introducing regulations to mandate implementation of smart meters and smart grid infrastructure
  4. Setting rules for data collection and management of the data
  5. Introducing more Rainwater Harvesting collection points for a holistic and more efficient smart system

Government Initiatives

What efforts and policies are local/national public administrations undertaking to help further and support this Solution?
  • In European cities, the implementation of local-based smart water management systems is supported by many initiatives at the European and National level. Projects focused on smart grids, energy efficiency, smart network management, and water management benefit from both national and European funding opportunities.
  • On a European level, initiatives, and research on Smarter Water Systems, the category in which Smart Rainwater Harvesting falls in, are funded through the European Research Council’s Synergy Grant. This grant allocated a total of $11M towards research on smart water systems.
  • Considering that the Smart Rainwater Harvesting system decreases the possibility of natural disasters (droughts and floods), the system also benefits from funding opportunities for disaster risk management within the EU cohesion policy.

Stakeholder Mapping

Which stakeholders need to be considered (and how) regarding the planning and implementation of this Solution?

Market Potential

How big is the potential market for this Solution? Are there EU goals supporting the implementation? How has the market developed over time and more recently?

The smart rainwater harvesting market surpassed USD 296 million in 2021 and will grow at a yearly rate of 4% between 2021 and 2027(Oberarscher et al., 2019). Rising water scarcity coupled with a growing population across the globe will drive market demand. The surging consumption of water in agriculture is also likely to propel the smart rainwater harvesting market expansion. It is predicted that the Smart Rainwater Harvesting market to reach USD 328 million by 2027.

Governments across countries have started to implement RWH policies to encourage water conservation. Some countries have made it necessary for new constructions to include smart rainwater harvesting systems, such as the US and Australia (Pradhan & Sahoo, 2019).

The leading participants operating in the market include GRAF Group, Kingspan Group, Heritage Tanks, Watts Water Technologies, Inc., Innovative Water Solutions LLC, Stormsaver, Water Field Technologies Pvt. Ltd., HarvestRain, WISY AG, D&D Ecotech Services, Rainharvesting Systems Ltd., and Climate, Inc. These players are constantly focusing on expanding their product portfolio and offering innovative products.

Depending on the scale of application, the clients differ. However, it is mainly cities and regions that are investing in smart rainwater harvesting.

Cost Structure

Operating Models

Which business and operating models exist for this Solution? How are they structured and funded?

Use Cases

Explore real-life examples of implementations of this Solution.



Flooding Innovation: Real-Time Data for the Dublin Region

Dublin City is getting new ‘smart’ rainfall sensors to give it an early-warning system to protect against flooding. This figure is increasing due to sea-level rises and more intense rainfall.




Gully Monitoring: Flood Risk Management Solutions

The Gully Monitoring Challenge was launched in 2017 to seek innovative solutions that could improve local authority responses to flooding.


Smart Rainfall Monitoring

Sunderland Smart City is deploying sensors across Sunderland to enable real-time measurement of environmental conditions? As part of this project, we spotted an opportunity to deploy new rainfall buckets to help anticipate surface water and flooding in Sunderland.

Social Responsibility




Flood level monitoring in streams

The Council has responsibility for monitoring small streams, legally defined as ordinary water courses. With more extreme weather, we know that some streams block or run high after either deluges of rain or long term persistent rain in the winter. Remote gathering information was required.

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