Amusing Monday: Value of water featured in art contest for students

More than 1,300 students entered this year’s Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest, sponsored by New York City’s water utility, known as the Department of Environmental Protection. Some 60 winners were named as “Water Champions” by a panel of judges.

Art by Lily H., grades 6–7.
Photo: New York City DEQ Art and Poetry Contest

“For more than three decades, DEP’s annual Art and Poetry Contest has given young New Yorkers a wonderful opportunity to use their artistic abilities to learn about and express the importance of protecting our environment and water resources,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said in a press release announcing the contest winners. “Nearly half the State of New York relies on the city’s water supply system, so this is a terrific way for students in both New York City and beyond to celebrate our shared natural resources.”

Art by Hoorian J., grades 2-3.
Photo: New York City DEQ Art and Poetry Contest

About 75 schools were represented in the contest, which encourages students to focus on one or more educational themes: water as a resource, water supplies, wastewater treatment, ecosystems, and water stewardship and climate change.

The contest allows for a wide variety of artistic endeavors, including poetry, paintings, collages, cartoons, three-dimensional models, photography, animation, videos, dance performances and even songs, as long as they relate to water and its many values.

Students were honored at a recent awards ceremony, where the winning art and poetry entries were displayed and where New York officials recognized the young artists and poets for their creativity.

The top entries selected by the judges can be viewed on New York City Water’s 2018 Flickr page. Selected works from previous years can be found on the Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest Flickr page.

Art by Finn B., grades 4–5.
Photo: New York City DEQ Art and Poetry Contest

New York City’s water supply provides more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to 9.6 million residents, including 8.6 million in New York City. The water is delivered from 19 reservoirs across a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city. The water is delivered through about 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts. Sewage is taken away through 7,500 miles of sewer lines to 14 treatment plants.

I have been unable to connect with contest officials to see if there is any ranking to the 60 winners, but I have chosen a few of my favorites to display on this page.

One poem from an eighth- or ninth-grade student caught my attention and I’d like to share it:


Pari Shah

I took a shower.
I brushed my teeth.
I ran the water
It was gone.
I have yet to shower.
I have yet to brush my teeth.
I have no water.
I was careless.
I regret.
I wanted everything.
I want water.
I want clean water.
The bushes
The trees
The flowers
Are pale.
I took advantage.
I became the ocean.
I have nothing.
I’m a barren desert.
I crave it.
I understand
The value of water.
Don’t promise to start
Conserving tomorrow.
What you choose
To do tomorrow
Do today.
What you choose
To do today
Do now.

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