Green-Schools and Irish Water is now in its eighth year of partnership. Over 300,000 students and teachers take part in the Water programme.
The Water Theme
An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme has teamed up with Irish Water for a seventh year to support schools working to gain a Green Flag under the water theme. The water theme aims to increase awareness of water conservation among primary and secondary school students. Last year, school children across Ireland saved over 203 million litres of water, the equivalent of over 350 million cups of tea, thanks to their participation in this programme.
This academic year (2020/2021), just over 291,000 students and 30,000 teachers around the country will undertake the Green-Schools water theme in their school. As part of Irish Water’s sponsorship, schools will be invited to attend virtual water workshops, take part in the annual poster and video competition, apply to be Water Ambassadors and participate in online teacher seminars. All schools are in with a chance to be named Ireland’s Water School of the Year 2021 when they apply for the Green Flag. The theme for the programme this year is Valuing Water.
Ambassadors and artists
This year will see the return of the Green-Schools Irish Water poster competition and the Ambassador Programme for secondary school students. The poster competition will focus on the theme of ‘Valuing Water’. Secondary school students will also be able to enter a group video, a new element to this year’s competition.
This year’s Ambassador Programme for secondary schools has seen high levels of applicants as secondary school students become more focused on climate action and helping their environment. Virtual training days for successful applicants took place in February and focussed on equipping students with as much water-based knowledge as possible. Students also received communication skills training and visited a water treatment plant.
We will be delivering Water workshops online this year due to COVID-19 guidelines. The workshops are open to teachers and students. These workshops focus on peer-to-peer learning. Students leave with action plans and resources to help them implement the water theme in their school.
Walk for Water
Due to COVID-19, we are not doing large Walk for Water events at this time.
In the lead up to World Water Day this year (22 March), we encouraged schools to promote a Mini Walk for Water. Students and teachers could do this at home or school, where safe and possible.
The Mini Walk for Water was a way to spread awareness of water poverty around the world. It helped raise awareness about women and children in countries around the world who walk, on average, 6 kilometres a day to access water. They then have to carry heavy loads of up to 20 litres on their way back. Those who did the Mini Walk for Water were encouraged to carry water with them on their walk to experience what this is like.
Walk Conservation Photo Competition
In May, there will be a Water Conservation Photo Competition. Parents will be invited to post a photo of their child or children carrying out a water conservation action at home, along with a short description of the story behind it. This encourages families to think about water conservation at home coming into the summer months. The competition will be promoted by schools.
Green Flag Award
Schools awarded the Green Flag last year showed how, on average, they lowered their water usage by one third. They achieved this through increasing awareness and conservation, installing water displacement and water-saving devices and rainwater collection.