The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has celebrated the winners of this year’s Art and Poetry Contest.
It was reported that this year, DEP received more than 1,300 entries from second through twelfth grade students representing nearly 90 public, independent, and parochial schools in New York City and the East and West-of-Hudson Watersheds.
According to the report, student entries beautifully depicted a genuine understanding of and appreciation for New York’s water resources, the drinking water supply, harbor water, wastewater treatment, and the importance of water conservation.
While speaking about the event, DEP Commissioner, Vincent Sapienza, said that student entries also raised awareness about the importance of maintaining New York City’s critical water supply and wastewater infrastructure.
“Thank you to all the students and teachers who participated. Even with the many challenges we’ve been experiencing over the last year, the art and poetry submissions were more creative and impressive than ever before,” Vincent said.
He added, “The beautiful and thoughtful art and poetry have been an inspiring reminder of the importance of the work that we do every day. We appreciate your help as water ambassadors, spreading the word about the many ways we can all be good stewards of our environment and work together to protect our vital water resources—resources we simply could not live without.”
At the event, the contest winners, called Water Champions, were honored for their outstanding work in the presence of family members, teachers, and school administrators.
Through paintings, haikus, collages, videos and more, students creatively depicted the importance of water, NYC’s drinking water supply and wastewater treatment systems, marine ecosystems, climate resiliency, and environmental stewardship.
A group of judges selected about 100 entries as this year’s Water Champions. All student participants will receive a certificate recognizing their contribution, and the Water Champions will also receive a gift bag from DEP and its partners (including a reusable bag, water bottle, Art & Poetry T-shirt, Art & Poetry button, journal, reusable straws, coloring books and more) before the end of the school year.
The 2021 contest focused on five central themes that incorporate STEM and humanities disciplines.
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’s Water Supply System and its present-day source, operation, delivery, protection and maintenance.
New York City Wastewater Treatment System: To understand our sewer infrastructure; the purpose of, and process for, cleaning wastewater in New York City and in the East and West of Hudson Watersheds.
Harbor Water Quality and Healthy Marine Ecosystems: To discover the richness of our marine life, and opportunities for recreation and commerce on local waterbodies; 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 take action on environmental issues that influence our neighborhoods, our city, and beyond.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 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 a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.