WaterWorks: A River Journey to the Sea is an educational endeavor in environmental watershed awareness from the River WaterWorks nonprofit organization. The goal of the program is to make people aware of the origins, destinations, and use of the water that they utilize on a daily basis.
The concept of the WaterWorks program is to follow the journey of a drop of water from the headwaters of a river all the way to the sea in a small vessel. The program begins in Chautauqua Lake in western New York State and follows the Allegheny, Ohio, and Lower Mississippi Rivers all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. See the River Map for more details. The direct participants of the program are fourth grade classrooms and communities along the banks of the Rivers where the WaterWorks vessel stops and presents hands-on educational programs. The indirect beneficiaries are schools or individuals away from the banks of the Rivers who will follow the progress of the journey and the utilize the watershed message posted on this website. The WaterWorks River Journey set sail in September 2005.
The main environmental benefit of the WaterWorks River Journey is that it provides people an opportunity to think about the common, yet valuable resource of water in a more educated fashion. The goal of the project is to allow communities to become more personally aware and responsible for an important resource that often is taken for granted. In addition, the vessel that will be used to deliver the WaterWorks message does not use any fossil fuels in its normal operation. The vessel is powered primarily by a bicycle-powered paddlewheel propulsion system but also has a 25 HP outboard engine for purposes of emergency collision avoidance. Electrical needs of the vessel are met with a battery and solar cell array. The nature of the vessel’s renewable sources of energy complement the theme of personal resource responsibility. It serves as an example to demonstrate how choices that are made upstream affect all those who live along the path on which the water flows as it makes its way to the sea.