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Fountain of Knowledge set to flow through the Kingdom as UHK one of four hospitals to team up with Uisce Éireann

10 October 2023

Water Stewardship Programme set to improve water quality and reduce water wastage for vital service

They say that water is the giver of life, so where is more important to protect our most precious resource than at University Hospital Kerry (UHK), Tralee.

Uisce Eireann, and their education partner 20FIFTY Partners, are thrilled to announce their collaboration with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to launch the groundbreaking ‘Acute Hospitals Water Stewardship Programme’, bringing valuable sustainability practices to hospitals across Ireland; and its first stop is at UHK. 

UHK is one of the most significant consumers of water in the Kingdom, with over 180,000 litres of water flowing throughout the hospital every day. You can be forgiven thinking that the majority of this is used for domestic purposes like drinking, washing, cooking and flushing the toilet, but a large portion of it is used on site to carry out life changing medical procedures like dialysis, surgery and oncology. 

As part of the pilot project, hospitals in Cavan, Louth, Tullamore and Kerry will go through a programme that will support acute hospital facilities with strategic water risk resilience and management training across the four pillars of Water Stewardship; quantity, quality, environment and governance, to enable these facilities reduce water consumption on-site and mitigate against critical water-related risks. 

In addition to the core water efficiency and monitoring regimes and identifying areas where “quick wins” can be achieved, the programme will lead to the identification of Water Stewardship actions and initiatives requiring strategic planning and investment for the HSE and Uisce Éireann in areas such as: supply backup and storage, mains upgrades and flushing, leakage programmes, pressure management, and wastewater treatment. The water conservation elements of the programme will be supported by the water reduction training modules which are currently being provided by Capital & Estates, Climate Action & Sustainability Office.

Geoffrey Bourke, Head of Uisce Éireann Customer Operations said:

Through this partnership with the HSE, our aim is to advance water management within the healthcare sector. By helping hospitals identify areas for improvement and implement effective water conservation measures, we can minimise water waste, reduce operational costs, and create a greener and more resilient healthcare infrastructure across the nation." 

"Uisce Eireann is committed to leading the charge towards a more responsible and efficient water usage landscape. Together with the HSE, we firmly believe that our collaborative efforts will drive positive change and ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come.“

Kieran Twomey, Estate Manager for the HSE in Cork and Kerry said: 

“Capital & Estates support the water stewardship initiative. One of the key outcomes of the extended programme will be the identification of ways to reduce water consumption and to mitigate against water related risks throughout our acute hospital sites. This is an important part of the HSE’s recently published HSE Climate Action Strategy 2023-2050."

“We also welcome building strong relationships between Capital & Estates and Uisce Éireann.” 

Mary Fitzgerald, General Manager of UHK, Tralee said:

We are delighted that UHK was chosen as one of the pilot projects for the Water Stewardship project. This initiative should help us to reduce water wastage and improve the quality of water across the hospital site improving the overall safety, comfort and well-being to patients and staff at University Hospital Kerry.

All businesses, big and small can take steps to conserve water. More than 600 graduates from a variety of sectors including hospitality, education, manufacturing, transport, and more have now completed the Uisce Éireann Water Stewardship Programme to date. The programme has been specifically tailored to empower businesses that rely on water to optimise their operations to benefit the environment and reduce operating costs. By offering comprehensive training, our programme equips businesses with the necessary tools and guidance to evaluate and enhance their water consumption practices, paving the path towards greater efficiency, sustainability, and environmental consciousness. 

Participants in the programme will undertake comprehensive virtual training to better understand how to conserve water in their organisation, including: 

  • Creating a water map to visualise how and where water is used; 
  • Reviewing their water monitoring strategy, and investigating how it may be updated/improved;
  • Identifying short payback water efficiency and conservation projects, such as rainwater harvesting;
  • Embedding governance processes to actively engage all stakeholders to conserve water;
  • Developing a water charter as a holistic approach to reducing water in their organisation. 

Those interested in participating in Uisce Éireann’s Water Stewardship Programme can apply here.

Hospitals are also encouraged to visit our Hospitals page where they can learn some useful tips on how they can conserve water.