Despite the recent emphasis on more natural-looking stormwater management facilities promoted by Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Infrastructure (GI) initiatives, their primary design function continues to be disposal. That is, collecting/storing/treating runoff and then returning it to the environment. Water scarce regions of the world have been harvesting and using stormwater for a variety of consumptive/beneficial uses for millennia. In typical North American urban areas however, the municipal water supply continues to be used for indoor/outdoor uses that do not require treatment to drinking water quality standards. Some examples include landscape irrigation, ornamental fountains, vehicle and equipment washing, and dust control.
In such cases, the consumptive use of stormwater to supply these demands offers all the benefits of traditional disposal (i.e., peak flow attenuation, volume and pollutant loading reduction). Further, stormwater reuse provides the additional benefit of addressing key sustainability issues from a water resources management perspective, namely; reduced potable water demand and development of supplemental sources of water to meet future growth demands or in anticipation of drought conditions. This paper will introduce stormwater reuse concepts and case studies to participants with the intent of encouraging creative thinking and promoting change from the typical stormwater design mindset of “collection and disposal” to “harvesting and consumptive use”.