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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16-121

November 30, 2016

deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (718) 595-6600

Funding Available for New York City Property Owners Who Conserve Water

Grants Up To $500,000 to be Awarded for Installation of Water Reuse Systems

NYC Aims to Reduce Water Consumption by 25 Million Gallons Per Day in Preparation for Delaware Aqueduct Repairs in 2022

A Leader in Conservation, Demand for Water in NYC has dropped by 33 Percent, Despite a Growing Population

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the launch of the On-Site Water Reuse Grant Program, a cost-sharing program aimed at providing commercial, mixed-use, and multi-family residential property owners with incentives to install water reuse systems.

“Ensuring a reliable supply of water for New York City requires policies that incentivize efficiency and alternative water use,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This new grant program is designed to encourage New York City property owners to implement innovative new water reuse strategies that will help get us closer to our goal of reducing water demand by 25 million gallons per day.”

“Our water is our city’s greatest resource. This DEP grant program encourages water conservation and helps more New Yorkers form environmentally-friendly habits,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee. “The water reuse systems recycle rainwater and gray water in an efficient way. The grant program will reduce our water demand and save homeowners money on their water bills. I thank DEP Acting Commissioner Sapienza for his partnership in making our city greener. With innovative programs like this, our city can continue to lead the way in combatting climate change.”

Grants ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 will be awarded to “building-scale” sites that contain 100,000 square feet or more of residential or commercial space, as well as “district-scale” properties that include the sharing of water between two or more parcels. The targeted water savings will be 32,000 gallons per day and 94,000 gallons per day respectively.

Water reuse systems, otherwise known as water recycling systems, make more efficient the safe use of rainwater, black water, and gray water when properly designed and operated. This grant program promotes the construction of these systems at both the building and district scales by covering a portion of the efficiency technology capital costs. In addition to the grant, the properties will also be eligible for a reduction of their water bills up to 25 percent.

Interested private property owners must complete and submit an application to DEP for funding. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and can be submitted at any time throughout the year. The application and a grant application guide are available on DEP’s website. A webinar for interested property owners will be held on December 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please email reusegrant@dep.nyc.gov to register for the webinar.

For the last several years, DEP has been implementing the Water Demand Management Plan, which aims to reduce citywide water consumption by 2021. To meet this goal, DEP has developed a combination of programs to identify opportunities to conserve water at City-owned properties and facilities. Partnering with NYC Parks, activation buttons are being installed on the spray showers at 400 playgrounds around the city that will save 1.5 million gallons of water a day. In addition, more than 40,000 bathroom fixtures in hundreds of public school buildings are also being updated. These retrofits will conserve approximately 4 million gallons of water each school day.

To encourage water conservation on private properties, DEP began a voucher-based program to replace roughly 100,000 outdated residential toilets with high efficiency models which use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush, compared to traditional toilets which can use as much as five gallons. DEP has also launched an automated Leak Notification Program that sends an alert to property owners if there is an unusual spike in water consumption. More than 72,000 customers have signed up for the program and have been able to quickly find and fix leaks on their property, saving more than $60 million in water charges.

The toilet rebate program builds on the success of a similar rebate program that ran from 1994 to 1997 and replaced 1.3 million toilets and reduced citywide water consumption by 90 million gallons per day. As a result of water conservation programs, the transition from frontage billing to metered billing, and the roll out of Automated Meter Readers and real-time feedback about water consumption, overall water use in the city has declined from over 1.5 billion gallons a day in 1980 to roughly 1 billion gallons a day at present, while the city’s population grew from just over 7.1 million to 8.5 million in the same period.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600