Roof tanks are common in low and middle income countries, due to the intermittent water supply. Their hydraulic and water mixing behaviour has not been studied. This paper presents the results of a study on mixing and water demand in roof tanks, based on physical and numerical models. Tracer tests were carried out on a real scale transparent wall laboratory model of a roof tank, and a three-parameter residence time distribution model was applied, showing that the model that best describes mixing in roof water tanks is the one with a completely stirred flow reactor with a small portion of bypassing. This result was confirmed by computational fluid dynamic simulations and visual observation. The instantaneous water flow derived from activating typical home water-using fixtures was measured at the pipe feeding the tank, the pipe exiting the tank, and without a roof tank. Stochastic water demand patterns were generated with the measured data and used in the numerical model of a small distribution network. Based on this model it was found that water demand and pipe flow behave differently in continuous and intermittent water supply networks. The instantaneous flow rate withdrawn from the water distribution network pipes is lower in systems with roof tanks.

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