Novel approach to roof rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge in an urban environment: Dry and wet infiltration wells comparison

Lior Netzer, Daniel Kurtzman, Meni Ben-Hur, Yakov Livshitz, Roee Katzir, Uri Nachshon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In urban environments there is a severe reduction of infiltration and groundwater recharge due to the existence of large impervious areas. During rain events, large volumes of water that could have recharged groundwater and surface water bodies are diverted into the municipal drainage system and lost from the freshwater storage. Moreover, extreme rain events impose high peak flows and large runoff volumes, which increase the risk of urban floods. Recent studies have suggested the use of rainwater harvesting for groundwater recharge, as a plausible solution for these challenges in dense urban environments. While the benefits of this approach are well understood, research on its practical, engineering, and hydrological aspects is relatively limited. The objective of the present study was to examine the use of infiltration wells for groundwater recharge with harvested rainwater collected from building rooftops under Mediterranean climate conditions. Two types of wells with similar hydraulic and technical properties were examined: a well that reaches the groundwater (wet well); and a well that discharges the harvested water into the unsaturated zone (dry well). Infiltration capacities of the wells were compared in controlled experiments conducted during summer months, and in operational recharge of harvested rainwater, during winter. Both dry and wet wells were found to be suitable for purposes of groundwater recharge with rooftop-harvested rainwater. Infiltration capacity of the wet well was about seven times greater than the infiltration capacity of the dry well. While the infiltration capacity of the wet well was constant throughout the entire length of the study (∼10 m3/h/m), the dry well infiltration capacity improved during winter (from 0.5 m3/h/m to 1.5 m3/h/m), a result of development of the dry well with time. Considering Tel-Aviv, Israel, as a case study for a dense modern city in a Mediterranean climate, it is demonstrated herein that the use of infiltration wells may reduce urban drainage by ∼40 %.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121183
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2024


  • Infiltration wells
  • Managed aquifer recharge
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Urban hydrology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel approach to roof rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge in an urban environment: Dry and wet infiltration wells comparison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this