Document Type


Date of Award



Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs (SOPA)

Degree Name

Master of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy

Committee Chairperson

Sheri L Smith

Committee Member 1

Hyun-Min Hwang

Committee Member 2

Zion Escobar

Committee Member 3

Bum Seok Chun


Low Impact Development (LID), RainWater Harvesting (RWH), Runoff Volume, Stormwater Management, Water Sustainability


This study presents an analysis of the effectiveness of the RainWater Harvesting (RWH) system as a decentralized stormwater management system in a neighborhood scale to reduce runoff volume flows to stormwater drainage systems. For this purpose, a fit between modeled and recorded runoff during a 10-year time frame (2010 - 2019) for a considered rainfall gage station within a specific watershed was calculated. The densely populated neighborhood in Gulfton, in the city of Houston and which is located within the 100- or 500-year floodplain, was selected for this analysis. Daily water balance simulation was executed, without RWH tank and then recalculate with RWH tank for the 227 single-family detached homes in the Gulfton subdivision in Block Group 3 Census Track 4216 for comparison. Calculating quantitative metrics were used to justify how to reduce the runoff volume and estimate how much the RWH system as a Low Impact Development (LID) system helps to divert water from the stormwater runoff. Eight different tank sizes between 500 – 4,000 gallons (in 500-gallon increments) and two different water demand scenarios: 1) indoor only and 2) indoor and outdoor were proposed. Outcomes posed that the benefits of the RWH system encompassed reducing the stormwater runoff and also reduced impacts on water sustainability at the neighborhood scale. Considering either of the two water demand scenarios (indoor water demand or indoor and outdoor water demand) within the study assumptions, results showed the most ideal tank size for saving water use and environmental issues is the 3,000-gallon tank. This tank size has the potential of reducing up to 30% of stormwater runoff annually. In addition, such a LID technique assessed to diverting an average 9 million gallons of stormwater every year, thus reducing the amount of stormwater runoff from the watershed. The collection of rainwater also has cost affordability benefits related to the water supply needs, public water infrastructure, and maintenance. With RWH installation of a 3,000-gallon tank, each home reduces an estimated 40,000 gallons of stormwater runoff annually and has the potential of satisfying 24% of indoor and 36% of indoor and outdoor water demand