Water Conservation Project

The Water Conservation Project is part of BBG's Campaign for the Next Century.

The Water Conservation Project is a multifaceted, sustainable approach to outdoor water management at Brooklyn Botanic Garden—the first project of its scale and complexity in North America and a model for reducing use of freshwater and lessening overflow into the city’s combined sewer system. The first phase of the project, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, opened in September 2016. The final phase is currently under construction.

When complete, this innovative new infrastructure will allow the Garden to filter and recirculate fresh rainwater and groundwater collected throughout a significant portion of the grounds and channel it through the Water Garden pond, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden pond, and catchment sites along the brook system. The project will reduce BBG’s outdoor freshwater consumption in its water features by almost 96% from 22 million gallons to less than a million gallons per year.

a sketch of the water recirculation route at BBG

Reduced Storm-Water Discharge

The new Water Garden at the southern end of the brook already plays a major role in detaining runoff. Through innovations like satellite technology, the Garden is able to monitor weather and discharge water from the detention pond prior to storm events. This has reduced the annual wet-weather burden on the storm-water system from 8 million gallons to only 2.5 million gallons.

Enhanced Plant Family Collection & Interpretation

Sections of the Plant Family Collection that line both sides of the brook will be augmented with thousands of new trees, shrubs, bulbs, ferns, and other plants. A new interpretive strategy and enhanced educational programs will use this project to raise water-use awareness and teach conservation techniques.

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