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January 20, 2015

Contact:, (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Launches 29th Annual Water Resources Art & Poetry Contest 

Nearly 700 Students Representing 68 Schools Entered Works of Art in 2014

The Winning Submissions can be Viewed on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced the launch of the 29th annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest.  Second through twelfth grade students attending public, independent, charter or parochial schools (or who are home-schooled) in New York City and in the East and West of Hudson Watersheds are invited to create original art and compose poetry that reflects an appreciation for our shared water resources.  Entries will be accepted on-line until March 1, 2015 and a ceremony honoring all student participants will take place in May.

“By creating original works of art young New Yorkers are encouraged to think about the environment and express its importance to them and their communities,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.  “Nearly half the State of New York relies on the City’s water supply system so this is a terrific opportunity for students in New York City and watershed school systems to learn about our shared natural resources while developing their own creative vision.”  

Last year, nearly 700 New York City and Watershed students from 68 schools submitted either original poems or artwork about NYC water, including paintings, collages, three-dimensional models, photography, animation and videos of dance performances, public service announcements and songs.  In May they were honored at an awards ceremony at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College where the artwork and poems were displayed.  For this year’s contest, teachers, parents and students can visit to view the contest guidelines and resource materials, submit entries online, see past winners, and learn more about New York City water.

DEP’s Water Resources Art and Poetry program helps raise awareness about the importance of clean, high-quality drinking water, and what it takes to maintain New York City’s water supply and wastewater treatment systems.  The 2015 contest will focus on four central themes that incorporate STEM disciplines:

  • Water, A Precious Resource: To highlight the importance of the quality of our tap and harbor water.
  • The New York City Water Supply System: To understand the history of the NYC drinking water system and watershed protection.
  • The New York City Wastewater Treatment System: To examine how the City cleans nearly 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater every day.
  • Climate Change and Water Stewardship:  To bring attention to our changing climate and the importance of understanding the effects on our water resources.

Entries will be judged based on creativity in interpreting one or more of the contest themes, accuracy of information, originality, and skill.  An impartial panel of judges will review the entries and select one art and one poetry winner from each category (grades 2-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12). 

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.  This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600