Water is the Life of NYC

  • "Water is the LIfe of NYC" depicts the New York water cycle.
  • Two reservoirs in upstate New York are the main source of New York City’s water supply.
  • The youth participants visited upstate New York to see first hand the source of New York City's water.
  • Youth participants pause in their painting to smile for the camera.
  • The completed mural is four stories high.
  • The dedication ceremony brought together youth participants with community leaders.
Water is the Life of NYC 2Water is the Life of NYC

Project Description

As part of our Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) 2008, Groundswell artists worked with a team of youth to create a monumental mural illustrating the New York water cycle. The system of delivery of water from rural New York to New York City is depicted in an effort to make New Yorkers more aware of the preciousness of their water. The allegorical figure of Mother Nature hovers over the two main reservoirs that serve as New York City’s water supply. The Sandhogs, the urban miners who maintain the tunnels which bring water to the city, are shown digging a third water tunnel. Elements of the urban and rural environments are presented together in harmony. Simultaneously, the central image and focal point of the mural encourages viewers to drink tap water in reusable bottles. The dedication ceremony for the finished four story mural brought together youth participants and their families, as well as community members and city officials, including Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd.

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Project Info

Fun Facts

Suggested Activity
List ways to help conserve water and implement them. A way to start is by boycotting plastic water bottles.
A broken, running toilet wastes 100 gallons of water of day.
“This mural reflects the global issue of water as a precious resource, and as only 7% of the world’s water is drinkable, we shouldn’t take our water for granted.” – Zane Smith, Youth Participant