The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the launch of the 37th Annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest. All New York City and Hudson watershed students in grades 2-12 are invited to create original art and compose poetry that reflects an appreciation for New York’s shared water resources. Visit the contest page to view the guidelines and resource materials, submit entries online, see past winners, and learn more about New York City water. Submissions are due by March 3, 2023 and winners will be announced during a celebration in the spring.

Last year, more than 1,500 students representing more than 90 schools submitted original poems and artwork about New York’s shared water resources. Contest winners were honored during a virtual celebration hosted by DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala, DEP staff, and the 2022 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Shvarts.

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. Students can create poems and artwork including paintings, collages, three-dimensional models, photography, animation and videos of dance performances, public service announcements and songs. The 2023 contest will focus 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 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: 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.

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). Please submit additional requests for information to

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 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 also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.