We are students at the Green School in East Williamsburg Brooklyn. This website documents our investigation of the New York City water system. For this project we partnered with HabitatMap and used the "Go With the Flow" toolkit to master maps based research methods and apply them to uncover the workings of New York City's water storage, filtration, delivery, and disposal infrastructures. We learned a lot and you can too by clicking through our map, looking at our photos, and reading our learning reflections.

Water & Public Health Concerns

by Caryn Lai Hing

“Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody” says Mark Twain; before this project I wasn’t too sure what was a good “moderation” of water or even if people considered water moderation at all since many New Yorkers believe we have an unlimited supply. This project not only taught me to do research but also guided me in making connections between the NYC Water System and all the roles involved in it down to the very abiotic factors. The connection between different times in history are interesting to explore; from reading about the cholera outbreaks in the 19th century in “Give Us Cold Water” to the Croton River Aqueducts, we can see the impact of past events on NYC’S Water System and how much they advanced. Doing this project I also had the chance to uncover the DEP’s relationship with society and the government such as the Green Infrastructure Plan that was put in place by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in correlation with the DEP.

The specific aspect of the NYC’s water system that I investigated was public health concerns. Public health concerns are very important to upgrading the system because the public are the very people who see what’s going on first hand. An example of how the public helped the DEP was by complaining about the Gowanus Canal stench, after review the DEP decided it was time to look out for the people. Having an accepted input from society also encourages others to be active and find solutions to the environmental obstacles. Through my investigation, I found that the most useful tool in researching was online research. The online research provided me with not only current events but also past events that resulted in government action. The DEP website was very helpful in explaining new plans that anyone can understand not just the people who posses high levels of environmental intellect. While exploring NYC public health concerns I found online research the most dependable and straightforward.

As a Green School student who has obtained new information, it is only right that I see what ways our school can improve with water conservation. After completing this project, I realize how much one person’s lifestyle can affect the water system. I found ways of creating a more sustainable me in watching my distribution of water such as regulating how much time I leave the pipe on. This project also connects to sustainable relationships because if we educate others we can work together in making sure our water is clean and the best it can be. We can look out for our fellow New Yorkers by preventing them from living an unsustainable lifestyle which can also connect to sustainable community. If we look at the water system on a larger scale we can evaluate the impact we have on other states. Water connects many places and when one lake or river is polluted and not taken care of, we can bet that we will see the pollution travel to other places by constant water flow. Since water is a necessity we should pay attention to our moderation, and that is what I took away from the NYC Water System project.