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, and the project was completed in April 2019.
This innovative new infrastructure allows 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.
Reduced Storm-Water Discharge
The Water Conservation Project also plays a major role in detaining runoff. Through innovations like satellite technology, the Garden can monitor weather and discharge water from the detention pond prior to storm events. This reduces 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 have been augmented with thousands of new trees, shrubs, bulbs, ferns, and other plants. A new interpretive strategy and enhanced educational programs use this project to raise water-use awareness and teach conservation techniques.