A Guide to Rainwater Harvesting

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Welcome to A Guide to Rainwater Harvesting. This course will serve as an introduction to common practices in both residential and commercial small-scale rainwater harvesting. We recommend that you download the PDF below of the course content and use it as a reference while taking the final quiz. To pass this course and receive a course completion certificate, a passing score of 70% is required on the quiz. Good luck!

Course Description and Outline

Rainwater harvesting is an ancient technique enjoying a revival in popularity due to the inherent quality of rainwater and interest in reducing consumption of treated water.  Rainwater collection has numerous benefits such as: free supply, low mineral and sodium content, reduction in non-point source pollution, and reduced demand on water utilities.  

The scope of this course is to serve as a primer in the basics of residential and small-scale commercial rainwater harvesting systems design.  The design process includes choosing system components in the most cost effective and advantageous manner. It is intended to serve as a first step in thinking about options for implementing rainwater harvesting systems, as well as advantages and constraints.

  1. Rainwater Harvesting System Components
  2. Water Quality and Treatment
  3. Water Balance and System Sizing
  4. Rainwater Harvesting Guidelines
  5. Cost Estimation
  6. Financial and Other Incentives
  7. Rainwater Collection Case Studies

Learning Objectives

  1. Basic Rainwater System Components
  2. Catchment Surface, Gutters, and Downspouts
  3. Leaf Screens
  4. First-Flush Diverters
  5. Roof Washers
  6. Storage Tanks
  7. Pressure Tanks and Pumps
  8. Treatment and Disinfection Equipment
  9. Water Quality Standards
  10. Factors Affecting Water Quality
  11. Water Treatment
  12. Water Capturing System Capabilities
  13. Rainfall Distribution and Calculating Storage Capacity
  14. Estimating Water Demand
  15. Rainwater Harvesting Best Management Practices
  16. Building Codes
  17. Cistern Design, Construction, and Capacity
  18. Backflow Prevention and Dual-use Systems
  19. Required Rainwater Harvesting Systems
  20. Cost Estimation and Comparison
  21. Financial Incentives
  22. Tax Exemptions
  23. Municipal Incentives
  24. Rainwater Harvesting Case Studies


This course is intended for use by engineers, contractors, and landscape architects.


Students will gain an understanding from this course of the benefits and design methods of rainwater harvesting systems.


This course is based on the publication, Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting. The techniques and methodologies described in this course document are a great introduction to rainwater collection system design and planning.


This course demonstrates the basic elements of rainwater harvesting. Information on planning and sizing of systems as well as the benefits of rainwater collection can be gained from this course.

Download your course content here. Study the content and use it as a guide while taking the final quiz: A-Guide-to-Rainwater-Harvesting