Had you been on the 300 block of Christian Street on Saturday afternoon, you might have asked yourself, “What are these blue dots all over the street? Is this graffiti?” You may have walked along the dots down the street – to the Delaware River – looked out across to New Jersey and thought, “This is beautiful, but why I am here?” If you had looked down below you, you may have noticed an outfall, spewing excess rainwater from the streets. However, this is the very end of our story, a story that starts miles away, only to end right below your very feet.

The Mural Arts Program and the Philadelphia Water Department have joined forces to help Philadelphia residents recognize the importance of the water cycle in Philadelphia and they’re doing it through a language everyone understands – art. With the help of environmental artist and sculptor, Stacy Levy, a simple but effective design was created and Saturday marked the first day of installation.

With the help of neighbors and friends from The Courts residential community, we traced, cut, painted and even heated (with an intense propane torch) blue dots to the sidewalk and streets. The dots represent water and the design is intended to demonstrate  how water flows over streets and other impermeable surfaces to the inlets, as well as the journey this water takes from the inlets to the Delaware River. Follow the dots downstream and you’ll find yourself facing the Delaware River. The very place a majority of our stormwater runoff ends up.

So the next time you’re near 3rd and Christian Streets, in front of the beautiful Southwark Garden, search the sidewalk for the blue water dots and remember how the story of your water ends.

Learn more about the story of stormwater here.

To see photos from the installation, visit the Water Department’s Flickr.