Phase 2 (Concluded) Log in and Rate the challenges: Mar 5-16

Calgary Smart Rainwater Capture and Distribution

Challenge Statement: "How will Calgary be able to plan for water demand in the future, and how can the citizen contribute with water conservation, while saving money at the same time?"


On average Calgary gets 317 mm of precipitation a year, most of it is absorbed by the ground or becomes runoff. Although not a new idea, capturing this water domestically and commercially would offset cost for the user and the City’s water infrastructure. For example, an average house with a 905 sq.ft. roof can capture 24,000 L of water a year, which can be used as flush water, or for gardening. The rainwater harvesting system would contribute with storm water management as well. Sensors would monitor the entire system, providing live and accurate data that will help in planning, not just at the Municipal level but also at the user level.

What will change for Calgarians if we solve this problem? (Measurable)

Awareness via data will empower Calgarians to be more conscious of their water usage, presumably lowering their consumption and their water bill, and there would be cost reduction for meter reading and billing. Constant monitoring should also mitigate surprise pipe leaks, and therefore damages incurred. Reduced expansion of water infrastructure (including storm water) should reduce City tax increases, can’t demand more taxes on water infrastructure if it isn’t needed. Thus, more money in the pocket of the consumer and more available water for our habitat.

How could we make it happen with technology or data? (Attainable)

"Both actually. Adding sensors (flow sensors, rain gauges) throughout the home/commercial space will allow us to keep track of the distribution of rain in Calgary, help detect leaks, keep track of consumption and where it occurs. The data would stream live to a central database, via an existing data network (say Shaw Open), were it can be analyzed and also be accessible to the user. Better data will help build better climate models, help in infrastructure planning and show us where we can improve and where we have.

Rainwater harvesting is relatively simple, requiring a catchment (roof and PVC pipping), storage (tank), filtering (UV and sediment removal) and distribution system for use as flush or garden water. The more complex technology is in the filtering system as it must meet a minimum standard, say microfiltration at 0.5 μm and UV disinfection of 30 mJ/cm²."

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Awaiting Assessments
Submission No. 148