Executive Board visits Korean rainwater harvesting project

Members of the WPC Executive Board, meeting in Seoul, South Korea on 28-29 October 2008, took the opportunity to visit a rainwater harvesting project in the Star City residential and commercial complex.

The visit was organised by Professor Mooyoung Han of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Seoul National University and a joint leader of the International Water Association’s Rainwater Harvesting Task Force.

Professor Han provided a guided tour of the Star City project and explained that flooding can be a major problem in Seoul during the summer months while drought conditions can arise during winter.

The rainwater collected from the Star City multi-storey buildings is diverted into three compartments- one for flood prevention, one for water conservation and the third for emergency use (such as fire fighting).

Seoul Metropolitan Government recently passed a regulation which requires the installation of rainwater tanks in new large buildings. The Disaster Prevention Board of Seoul City can control the multiple water tanks when heavy rain is expected and can order building owners to empty the tanks to prevent sewer flooding. At other times, the stored rainwater can be used for non-drinking water purposes such as gardening and public toilet flushing.

Professor Han, who is well know as an expert in rainwater harvesting, has also been instrumental in arranging rainwater harvesting solutions for drinking and cooking purposes in places such as Banda Aceh in the aftermath of the 2005 tsunami.

WPC Chairman, Robert Burgon, who was interviewed for the main television news programme in Seoul (SBS8) during the visit, thanked Dr Han for allowing the Executive Board to see this fascinating project at first hand and commented that “with the increasing global emphasis on water conservation, Professor Han’s work is of interest to the worldwide plumbing community as it will be plumbers who are involved in installing and maintaining such systems.

Rainwater is a gift and Star City demonstrates how this valuable gift is being used for positive purposes in Seoul.”

Further information of Professor Han’s work can be found at http://rainwater.snu.ac.kr

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