Rainwater harvesting in urban areas: how can foreign experiences enhance the French approach?

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Since the end of the 1990s, rainwater harvesting (RWH) has been growing in France. A first regulatory framework, constituted mainly by an Order of 21 August, 2008, helped to strengthen this practice, but also introduced some limitations to the development of RWH. Considering the growing social demand and possible issues for water resources, it is likely that this first regulatory framework will evolve. In order to anticipate these changes, foreign case studies may be very instructive. Based on a detailed analysis of eight countries in all continents (Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and Uganda), this paper draws up an international overview of RWH allowing French practices to be put into perspective. Beyond the specific and sensitive differences, the experience of these countries gives useful lessons for the French case. Comparisons have been drawn on different topics: uses of rainwater, quality standards, regulatory tools and RWH development factors. RWH, especially, in urban areas appears in France as an isolated topic. It is necessary in the future to better integrate it into overall urban water management approaches.

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