Funding Available for New York City Property Owners Who Conserve Water

September 9, 2019

With a Citywide Goal of Reducing Water Consumption by 20 Million Gallons per Day, Property Owners Can Receive Funding for Water Conservation and Reuse Projects

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today encouraged property owners to take advantage of funding available for plumbing upgrades through the Water Conservation and Reuse Grant Pilot Program. The grant program aims to conserve the City’s drinking water supply, with a corresponding reduction of flows into the sewer system, by reimbursing commercial, industrial, and multi-family residential property owners who invest in water efficiency projects, including low-flow fixtures, as well as innovative water saving technologies such as on-site water reuse systems.

“New York City is fortunate to have some of the highest quality and best tasting tap water anywhere in the world and we must do all we can to conserve this invaluable resource,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We have made great progress is reducing New York City’s demand for water and we encourage property owners to take advantage of this funding as they upgrade their properties.”

Grants are available to institutional (such as museums and schools), residential, and commercial customers who receive a water bill directly from DEP for their own water use. Applicants must have an account in good standing with a functioning automated meter reading device and must have one year of water use data. Applicants applying for funding for new construction projects who do not have water use data would qualify for water reuse projects only. Proposed projects must conserve at least one million gallons of water per year, or about 2,740 gallons per day.

Water reuse systems, otherwise known as water recycling systems, make the reuse of rainwater, black water, and gray water safe and efficient. This grant program promotes the construction of these systems by covering documented equipment costs, including materials and supplies; third-party costs for a water use survey of the facility; and third-party costs for design services. In addition to the grant, buildings with successful on-site water reuse systems are eligible for the Comprehensive Water Reuse Program, which provides a 25 percent water and wastewater fee discount to DEP customers who install water reuse systems that reduce the building’s water consumption by at least 25 percent.

The Water Conservation and Reuse Grants webpage contains links to all documents required for application, in addition to the Program Guide. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact DEP to discuss eligibility of projects prior to submitting an application by emailing or calling 718-595-6242.

Reducing Demand for Water in New York City:

DEP’s One Water NYC: 2018 Water Demand Management Plan outlines recent citywide Water Conservation efforts that have resulted in a savings of 10 million gallons of water per day, as well as plans to conserve an additional 10 million gallons per day by 2022. Through these strategic initiatives, DEP has been able to reduce per capita water demand in New York City from a peak of 213 gallons per day in 1979, to 120 gallons per day in 2018. Overall, citywide water use has dropped from approximately 1.5 billion gallons a day in 1980, to about 1 billion gallons a day at present, while the city’s population grew from just over 7.1 million to 8.6 million in the same period.

  • The installation of activation buttons on spray showers at 400 playgrounds around the city that saved 1.1 million gallons of water a day.
  • Upgrading more than 34,000 bathroom fixtures in 402 public school buildings with water-efficient upgrades that conserved approximately 3.3 million gallons of water each day. Plans to retrofit fixtures at an additional 200 schools will result in an estimated water savings of up to .7 million gallons a day.
  • Hotels, restaurants, universities, and hospitals have also worked to reduce water use by five percent. In fact, DEP recently completed a $1.3 million fixture upgrade at Harlem Hospital that is conserving 70,000 gallons of water per day. The retrofits included more than 570 fixtures and ice machines, 900-plus faucets, and one industrial dishwasher.
  • DEP’s Toilet Replacement Program invested $1.85 million to retrofit more than 13,200 toilets citywide in multi-family buildings. The total water savings of this effort is more than 620,000 gallons per day.
  • Customer service initiatives aimed at helping New Yorkers manage their water use and bills and respond promptly to leaks include the completion of a network of automated meter reading devices that ensure bills are based on actual consumption and that allow customers to access data about their water use in near real time. In addition, a leak notification system has already saved customers more than $16.5 million and DEP’s leak forgiveness program has been expanded to include maintainable fixtures such as toilets and faucets to encourage homeowners to make timely repairs.
  • Funding has also been committed to help the City’s largest upstate wholesale water customers, including communities in Orange and Westchester counties, develop conservation plans aimed at saving water in the future. DEP continues to work collaboratively with the upstate customers to identify demand management strategies, including leak detection and repair, with a goal of reducing their water use by 5 percent.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to more than 9.6 million residents, including 8.6 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 $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.