The water resource, energy and economy aspects of rainwater collection are assessed to evaluate rainfall collection as an alternative option for sustainable water supply. A maximum of 229 million m(3)/year of rainwater can be collected from Danish roofs, provided that all possible surfaces are used and all rain falling on the surfaces is collected. This is equivalent to 24% of the total present production of drinking water, which is mainly based on groundwater. From household roofs 64.5 million m(3)/year can be collected if used for toilet flushing and washing of clothes. This is 68% of the actual demand for toilet flushing and washing of clothes in households and 22% of the total water consumption in households, but only 7% of the total present drinking water production in Denmark. From the society point of view there is neither an environmental nor an economic reason to systematically promote rainfall collection on a larger scale in Denmark. Thus it is important to see rainfall;collection in a local context, and in each case to evaluate whether there are cheaper alternative water sources or options for minimising the water consumption. (C) 1999 IAWQ Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.