corner corner


The Water Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

A New Water Garden Has Big Implications for the City’s Future

September 2015

Visitors to the Garden may have noticed the new construction fence installed north of the Discovery Garden. Behind the fence, work is starting on BBG’s new Water Garden—including installation of an expanded collection of wetland plant species.

Construction crews are already hard at work on the earthwork and excavation of the pond. The most revolutionary part of the garden lies beneath the ground, however. Utility pipes are being laid at the bottom of the pond that will play a major role in the Water Conservation Project, a multifaceted strategy to reduce BBG’s consumption of fresh water and lessen the Garden’s role in combined sewer overflow (CSO). A pressurized pipe will draw water collected in the pond through biofiltration units and push the filtered water back to the upper stream to be recirculated.

In the final phase of the project, water will be recirculated all the way back to the pond in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. This new ability to filter and reuse water will reduce BBG’s consumption of fresh water by more than 21 million gallons annually and serve as a sustainable model for other urban gardens and greenspaces.

The Water Conservation Project also seeks to reduce the amount of storm-water discharge, which can overload city sewers during heavy rainfall. The landscape architects behind BBG’s Water Garden, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, worked with Geosyntec Consultants to create a first-of-its-kind storm-water management system that monitors weather activity and discharges water into the combined sewer system to increase storage capacity hours before a storm hits. With this groundbreaking infrastructure in place, the Water Garden will have a big impact on sustainable water consumption in New York City and beyond by serving as a viable model for others to follow.

Green Facts

The Garden is working to save water, and you can too. The average New York home wastes as much as 11,000 gallons of water each year—that’s 30 gallons a day!