Le Bernardin saves most water in NYC restaurant challenge

French restaurant Le Bernardin conserved the most water in 2015 out of 30 New York City restaurants participating in a water challenge from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP announced the results of the challenge in a Thursday media release.

Le Bernardin, which took first place in Zagat’s Top Food in New York City rating for the seventh year in a row in 2015, reduced its water use by more than 20 percent, according to the DEP. The recently closed West Village restaurant Perilla also reduced water use by more than 20 percent.

They are followed by Etcetera, Etcetera; Marc Forgione; Landmarc; Kum Gang San; Russo’s on the Bay; and Macelleria. Each of these restaurants reduced its water consumption by at least five percent — the goal of the water challenge.

Collectively, the eight restaurants saved nearly 2.6 million gallons of water, according to the release, which is just short of the DEP’s 3-million-gallon reduction goal. The restaurants also saved an approximate total of $10,000 on their annual water and sewer bills.

Some of the other restaurants in the challenge dropped out or did not reach the 5 percent reduction goal, the DEP said.

The department worked with the restaurants to replace inefficient plumbing, quickly repair leaks and encourage customers to conserve water, according to the news release.

DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd expressed her appreciation for the changes the participating restaurants made.

“By reducing their water use, the restaurants have achieved significant financial savings and have proven that New York City’s restaurants are not only world renowned for their delicious cuisine, but are also leaders in sustainability,” Lloyd said in the release.

The DEP introduced a guide for restaurants on how to better conserve water based on the lessons from the challenge, which will be distributed to a number of restaurants in the city. 

The department has also worked with hotels, public, parks and other spaces to reduce water use in the city. It hopes to reduce citywide water use by five percent before repairment on the Delaware Aqueduct, which brings almost half of the city’s water supply from reservoirs upstate. The repairs are expected to begin in 2022, according to the DEP.