Cincinnati Zoo to add stormwater tanks providing nearly 100% of water usage for zoo’s habitats

Million-gallon capacity stormwater tanks under Cincinnati Zoo Habitat part
Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 12:38 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2023 at 12:42 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) -The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is adding million-gallon capacity stormwater tanks underground on the new Elephant Trek habitat site, which will provide 98% of the water usage for the habitats, according to the zoo’s vice president of facilities and sustainability Mark Fisher.

This includes a quarter-million-gallon above-ground pool for the elephants.

Fisher says using cleaned rainwater for their habitats is part of an effort to achieve the zoo’s NetZero Water, Waste, and Energy goal by 2025.

“We started on this journey more than a decade ago when we installed 400,000-gallon capacity tanks under the Africa habitat,” said Fisher. “We collect rainwater, clean it, and use it for streams, waterfalls, pools, and other water elements in that part of the zoo. We placed additional tanks under Roo Valley, which opened in 2020, that provide water for that habitat.”

Michelle Curley with the Cincinnati Zoo says that using rainwater has helped save the zoo money and the neighbors’ basements from overflowing with sewer water.

“Storing and reusing rainwater has helped the zoo save more than $10 million on its water bill over the years and has also kept water and sewer overflow out of neighbors’ basements. The zoo has saved more than two billion gallons of water since it began its efforts to reduce water use in 2006,” Michelle Curley with the Cincinnati Zoo said.

Fisher says the completion could take at least a few years.

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