Green-Schools winners are super savers when it comes to water conservation

15 October 2021

Ireland’s Water Schools of the Year have been honoured for their efforts in highlighting the value of water in all our lives at the annual Green-Schools Awards.
Hosted by An Taisce’s Green-Schools and Irish Water, this year’s virtual awards celebrated schools all over Ireland who have participated in the Green-Schools Water theme. Last year, over 125,000 students in 480 schools all over Ireland participated in the programme.

Ardgillan College in Fingal was named the Secondary Water School of the Year, while Scoil Treasa Naofa in Dublin 8 were the winners in the Primary category.

Both schools showed exceptional commitment to the Water theme and to spreading water conservation messages in their school and community.

Ardgillan College really embraced water conservation, installing a water butt in their school, encouraging students to use shower timers and placing water saving tips on their school notice board. They also took part in tours of local wastewater treatment plants and organised a number of beach cleans. Overall they reduced their water usage by 42% per person.

The pupils in Scoil Treasa Naofa carried out various projects throughout the year, including holding water workshops in the school and taking part in the ‘Water We Doing’ Ecolution podcast. They also reduced their plastic bottle consumption in the school and created art works with single use plastic to highlight the overwhelming nature of it in our environment.

The two schools were chosen from a list of eight regional winners, who were awarded for their water conservation measures as part of their participation in the Green-Schools Water theme. The Green-Schools Water theme is supported by Irish Water.

The Green-Schools programme has moved much of its interaction online for the past two school years, having developed a suite of Green-Schools Stay Home resources, including 13 weeks of activities related to the Water theme. This is the eighth year of the awards and partnership with Irish Water, which has seen over 1,600 schools attend interactive Water Workshops or Walk for Water Events since 2013. During this time, hundreds of pupils have visited their local water and wastewater treatment plants where they learned about the complex processes involved in safeguarding water supplies and protecting the environment. While COVID restrictions prevented such visits over the past 18 months, many opted to view the Irish Water documentary, The Story of Water, to learn more about our precious water resources.

Speaking at the awards today, Geoffrey Bourke of Irish Water, said: “A key part of Irish Water’s role in safeguarding Ireland’s water supplies is helping the next generation understand the importance of conserving water. It is truly inspiring to see how the schools taking part in the Green-Schools water theme have taken this to heart and are setting an example for how we can all value our precious water resources.

The success of the participating schools in reducing water usage and raising awareness about water issues really highlights how important it is to learn about the value of water and water conservation from a young age.  That’s why this is such an important programme and one that Irish Water is proud to sponsor.

Green-Schools Manager Cathy Baxter said: “Despite the COVID restrictions presenting challenges in how we engage with our participating schools, we have used a variety of techniques and technologies to continue to support our schools and encourage them to carry out as much Green-Schools work as possible throughout the past year.  It is also wonderful to see how the students have developed innovative new ways of engaging with their fellow students and wider community to help spread the work about the value of water.

This was the second year hosting the awards ceremony virtually and it was great to see schools from all over the country joining in the ceremony through a live link.