Starting in 2012, the DOE and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have partnered to implement a plan to install new, high efficiency, water-efficient fixtures in the bathrooms of over 500 DOE school buildings. The retrofit program began as a pilot in 2012 at Hillcrest and Bayside High Schools in Queens, where contractors installed 350 high efficiency toilets and urinals. In 2013, the DOE has been working in 23 additional schools, with the intention of completing retrofits at 500 schools by 2018. Overall, the project will upgrade nearly 40,000 bathroom fixtures and is projected to reduce citywide water consumption by approximately four million gallons per day. The approximately $31 million retrofit project
is being funded by DEP.
The water conservation project is part of New York City's Water for the Future Program
, a $2.1 billion initiative to ensure clean, reliable, and safe drinking water for nine million New Yorkers for decades to come. As part of the Program, DEP will repair leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct that supplies roughly half of the City's daily drinking water needs. In order to make repairs to the Aqueduct, the tunnel must be temporarily shut down between 2020 and 2021. In addition to supplementing the city's water supply during the shutdown, DEP aims to reduce citywide water consumption by 5% through conservative programs.