Overview: The Kanapaha Water Gardens are a meandering waterway featuring four waterfalls and were built to provide a public demostration of reclaimed water use.
A Closer Look: The water gardens were developed in collaboration with Gainesville Regional Utilities in 1994 to provide a public demonstration of reclaimed water use. The water you see here is effluent from the nearby Kanapaha Wastewater Treatment Plant and meets state drinking water standards. It also happens to be high in phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations, two of the three essential plant macronutrients found in common commercial fertilizers. As it traverses the gardens' waterfalls, streams and ponds, it is dissipated through evaporation, infiltration into the soil, and transpiration from plants. During these processes, the reclaimed water gets stripped of much of the nutrients that are undesirable for potable water purposes.
Reclaimed water is also used throughout Kanapaha Botanical Gardens as a source of irrigation and has great potential to meet many similar non drinking water functions. The Water Gardens display a great variety of aquatic and emergent vegetation including--each summer--giant Water Platters, an Amazonian species that is the world's largest water lily. The area has become the home of numerous forms of wildlife including alligators.