Water Conservation Project opens at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) opened the Water Conservation Project, a garden-wide, multifaceted, and sustainable approach to outdoor water management at the Garden — the first project of its scale and complexity in North America. The project significantly reduces BBG’s impact on New York City’s water systems, and serves as a model for urban water management, utilising — and educating visitors on the importance of — a sustainable approach to water cycle design.

The completed project allows the Garden to recirculate rainwater collected throughout its 52-acre watershed and channel it through the Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden pond, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden pond, and the rest of BBG’s brook system, reducing freshwater consumption from an estimated 22 million to 900,000 gallons per year.

The Water Conservation Project also plays a major role in retaining stormwater run-off at the garden. Using satellite technology and computer modelling, BBG can monitor the weather and release water from the pond in the Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden prior to major storm events. This reduces the discharge during storm events to New York City’s stormwater system from 8 million gallons to only 2.5 million gallons per year.

The Water Garden highlights the beauty of water elements at BBG with a restored and expanded pond and brook system and plantings. It also serves to educate visitors on native plants and wildlife, water conservation, and the role water plays across ecosystems.

Scot Medbury, President of Brooklyn Botanic Garden said, “The Water Conservation Project serves as a platform from which we can educate our community on water conservation in the city, at BBG, and in their own homes. In the face of uncertainty about how climate change will affect us locally, it is becoming ever more crucial to appreciate the resilience and promote practices that will serve us for decades to come. Cities across the world have assumed leadership roles in these efforts with New York City at the forefront. We are proud that Brooklyn Botanic Garden is part of that transformative effort.”

Diane Steinberg, Board Chair, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, “The Water Conservation Project—which spans the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from the beautiful Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden to the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden—is a pioneering project in urban water management, as well as a beautiful new horticultural experience. This ambitious project would not have been possible without the leadership support of the Leon Levy Foundation. Their marvellous generosity and commitment to conservation has made so many extraordinary things possible at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in the city, and beyond.”