Rainwater Harvesting

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Video courtesy of Aquascape, the Project Designer


At Boerner Botanical Gardens, stormwater runoff is turned into a water resource.

Reinders Inc., Aquascape, Inc., and the Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens partnered with Milwaukee County to design a plan that involved harvesting rainwater runoff from the roof of the Education and Visitor Center and using it to water nearby gardens. In addition, runoff from the parking lot would be captured and sent through an infiltration basin and a man-made wetland, where it would be further filtered.

In May 2009 the project received a major grant through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). MMSD presented a Best Management Practices Award for "Boerner Botanical Gardens Stormwater Recycling." This $100,000 matching grant to Milwaukee County's world-renowned gardens allowed the plan to come to fruition.

Phase I of Boerner's rainwater harvesting system was completed in a 2-week time period in August 2009.



Phase II

In 2011, Boerner Botanical Gardens expanded the project with a rain garden and educational component. The rain garden captures runoff from the rain-harvesting system during heavy rains. In Phase II, the Boerner Botanical Gardens would like to continue to expand the rain-harvesting system and the educational component to impress upon the public that water is a resource.





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