Rainwater harvesting (RWH) feels right from a long-term sustainability perspective. Short-cutting the hydrological cycle seems to make logical sense from an environmental stance, and the technique is being driven into new buildings in the United Kingdom (UK) through building rating systems which are in turn pushed by government policy. However, little work has been done to assess its environmental credentials from a whole life perspective. Controversially, those studies that have been done have found that RWH systems tend to have greater environmental impacts than mains supply infrastructure. This work seeks to investigate the latest studies, and provide a way forward in the debate.
Keywords: lifecycle assessment, rainwater harvesting