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  Determining the Potential of Domestic Rainwater Harvesting to Decrease Pollution in Coastal Areas.


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  Dr Ruth Quinn, Dr Karla Munoz Esquivel, Dr Natalie Delimata  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project is part of the Postgraduate Research Training Programme COASTAL CONNECTIVITY, which offers 12 PhD research scholarships to commence in 2024. Each project will include an enterprise placement of minimum 12 weeks duration and a bespoke training package in coastal management and research skills.

Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) is not only a traditional drought mitigation method but is increasingly acknowledged as part of Sustainable Drainage Systems, serving to reduce urban runoff frequency and volumes. RWH systems can prevent the conventional drainage network from becoming overwhelmed by storing runoff during storm events, reducing the risk of flooding and combined sewer overflows . In Ireland, sewer network modelling has estimated that cumulative annual spill volumes were in the order of 5–10% of the total annual combined flows and is particularly problematic in coastal areas where discharges enter the sea and interfere with local activities such as water sports, potentially causing not only damage to the ecosystem but also a health hazard.

A framework is needed that combines both aspects of individual system performance with the overall impact numerous systems can have on catchment discharges. The manufacture of these systems also needs to be improved to address the needs of consumers and mitigate potential barriers to adoption while improving their sustainability. This project aims to address this by quantifying and demonstrating the potential of domestic RWH systems in coastal areas to act as an additional source of non-potable water and a surface water management tool, increasing uptake and decreasing pollution..

Objectives of the research project

  1. To develop, demonstrate and refine methods of modelling RWH systems' behaviour individually and as part of a network and quantify their impact on the existing drainage network.
  2. To examine, evaluate, and quantify the factors that determine a RWH system’s performance.
  3. To improve manufacturing techniques to increase the sustainability of RWH tanks.
  4. To identify broader factors supporting or hindering the uptake of RWH by ascertaining and characterising the current implementation of these systems and provide a framework to support the wider adoption of RWH as a water management tool.

A minimum of 2.1 honours degree (Level 8) in a relevant discipline.

Project Duration:

48 months (PhD)

Preferred Location:

ATU Sligo, Campus


Application Form / Terms of Conditions can be obtained on the website:

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm, (GMT) Monday 29th April, 2024.

Only selected applicants will be called for an online interview (shortlisting may apply).

Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Geography (17) Mathematics (25)

Funding Notes

TU RISE is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021- 27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.
Funding for this Project includes:
• A student stipend (usually tax-exempt) valued at €22,000 per annum
• Annual waivers of postgraduate tuition fee
• Extensive research training programme
• Support for travel, consumables and dissemination expenses
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