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January 13, 2017, (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Launches 31st Annual Water Resources Art & Poetry Contest for Second Through 12th Grade Students

Jenell C

Nearly 1,800 Students Representing 100 Schools Entered Original Works of Art and Poetry in 2016; Work of the Art Champions is Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza today announced the launch of the 31st annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest. Second through twelfth grade students attending public, independent, charter or parochial schools and/or 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 online until March 8, 2017.

“For 31 years, the annual Art and Poetry contest has provided a venue for young New Yorkers to learn about the importance of protecting our environment while simultaneously developing their own means of artistic expression,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Sapienza. “Nearly half the State of New York relies on the City’s water supply system so this is a terrific opportunity for students in both New York City and watershed school systems to celebrate our shared natural resources.”

Students can submit poems and artwork including paintings, collages, three-dimensional models, photography, animation and videos of dance performances, public service announcements and songs based on five central themes: water, the drinking water system, wastewater treatment, harbor water quality and stewardship/climate change.

Last year, about 1,800 New York City and watershed students from 100 schools submitted either original poems or artwork about New York’s water resources. In May, all participants were honored at a celebration 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 2017 contest will focus on five central themes that incorporate STEM and the humanities:

  • Water, A Precious Resource: To recognize the importance of a clean and plentiful supply of water.
  • New York City Water Supply System: To explore the history of the New York City Water Supply System and its present-day source, operation, delivery, protection, maintenance, and stewardship.
  • New York City Wastewater Treatment System: To examine the purpose of, and process for, cleaning used water in New York City and in the East and West of Hudson Watersheds.
  • Harbor Water Quality & Healthy Marine Ecosystems: To discover the richness of our marine life and opportunities for recreation and commerce on local waterbodies; and to understand the work that is being done to monitor and ensure healthy water quality.
  • Water Stewardship and Climate Change: What Can We Do To Help? To consider our influence on the environment and how we can address and help to resolve environmental issues that impact our neighborhoods, our city, and beyond.

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 art and poetry winners from each category (grades 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12).

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. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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(718) 595-6600