In order to understand the current status of rainwater harvesting (RWH) practices in Taiwan's schools, a study was carried out to examine the RWH system performance, water usage, and water quality in these sites. A total of 29 schools in various regions were selected for this investigation, including 7 in the northern, 7 in the central, 8 in the southern, and 7 in the eastern regions of Taiwan. Water quality indicators tested were: pH, temperature, conductivity, oxidation-reduction potential, suspended solid, total organic carbon, fecal coliform, and total coliform. From this study, it was found that RWH systems in these sites generally had two different designs: one that collected rainwater only, and one that collected both rainwater and grey water. From statistical analysis, it was found that water quality indicators such as suspended solids, total organic carbon, and fecal coliform were significantly affected by the water source and site location. Fecal coliforms in most of the sites we studied were high and not qualified for toilet flushing. The average water retention time of 2.4 months was long and considered to be the main reason to cause high fecal coliform counts. Finally, the benefit analysis was conducted to evaluate economic feasibility of rainwater harvesting for these schools. It turned out that 20% of them were able to gain economic benefits from using rainwater.
Keywords: benefit analysis, rainwater harvesting, water quality