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August 21, 2017
deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (718) 595-6600

City Upgrades 400 Playground Spray Showers to Conserve Water


Timers and Activation Buttons Reduce Water Consumption by 50 Percent—Saving 1.1 Million Gallons of Water a Day

Retrofits Part of Citywide Effort to Reduce Water Consumption by 5 Percent

Photos are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

The New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Parks and Recreation today joined Council Member Costa Constantinides to announce that water-saving automatic shut-off timers and activation buttons have been installed on 400 spray showers at City playgrounds in order to conserve water by ensuring that showers are activated only when in use. The $3 million initiative, funded by DEP and jointly managed through a partnership with NYC Parks, was completed on time and is part of a larger citywide effort to reduce water consumption by 5 percent. The project also included water-saving retrofits to bathrooms in nine NYC Parks Recreation Centers. The timed spray showers were developed through the Municipal Water Efficiency Program, an interagency partnership that implements water conservation strategies at City-owned properties and facilities.

“The spray showers available at NYC playgrounds are a terrific way to cool off on a hot summer day, and the new shut-off timers and activation buttons will ensure we protect our indispensable supply of healthy water and reduce waste,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “I’d like to thank Commissioner Silver and the Parks Department who have been terrific partners on so many projects important to the future of New York City.”

“NYC Parks spray showers help our little New Yorkers beat the heat throughout the summer and our successful partnership with DEP is helping to make them even better by conserving water,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The installation of these timers across New York City have already reduced the amount of runoff that enters our sewers and are saving over a million gallons of water per day.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said, “This initiative to upgrade 400 spray showers in playgrounds citywide will save water and mitigate flooding while giving children the opportunity to cool off in the summer heat. As we work to combat climate change, we must build sustainable habits and reduce waste. Conserving water and adding capacity in our sewer systems will help us meet these goals. I am excited that these water-conserving spray showers are installed in playgrounds in our neighborhood, including at Paul Raimonda Playground. Thank you to DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and to the Parks Department for working in partnership on this initiative that will make our city greener.”

Timed playground spray showers are the result of significant interagency cooperation to conserve water during high demand summer months by ensuring that the showers are activated only while in use. Without timers and reactivation buttons, playground showers use approximately 5,600 gallons of water per day. Timers could reduce that consumption by 50 percent, or approximately 2,800 gallons per day. Now that these 400 spray showers have been upgraded, it is projected that citywide water consumption will be reduced by 1.1 million gallons per day. All newly constructed spray showers in playgrounds also utilize water-saving timers. Visit NYC Parks website for a complete list of spray showers citywide.

As a result of sustained 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 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 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 $20.7 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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