This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Assessing Rainwater Harvesting Potential for Urban Multi-Family Housing Developments in Auburn, AL using a sUAS




Bush, Austin

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Many cities today are facing growing pressure to develop in a sustainable manner, and green infrastructure is quickly becoming a popular strategy for addressing this. Through the incorporation of decentralized solutions for ecological problems associated with rapid urbanization, such as flooding and erosion, there is opportunity to mitigate the associated negative impacts while also reducing strain on current infrastructure systems. Additionally, since modern technology is providing researchers with cost-effective approaches to acquiring their data, then there is a lot of opportunity for these problems to be assessed effectively and in a timely manner. This study focuses on these concepts by using a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) to obtain aerial images of four multi-family housing developments in the city of Auburn, Alabama. With these images obtained from the sUAS, output maps are generated which can then be used to determine land-cover characteristics for the four study locations. The land-cover characteristics are then used as input values for the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Stormwater Calculator tool. This tool is used to quantify the rooftop-based rainwater harvesting potential for each of the sites and determine the reduction impacts on stormwater runoff. The results of the stormwater calculator scenarios showed that if rainwater harvesting and collection were implemented, then the reduction in annual runoff is projected to be 1,148,305.48gal at the Garden District, 907,070,06gal at Eagles South, 1,220,869.59gal at Tiger Lodge, and 897,235.84gal at Eagles West.