Mayo school honoured for water conservation efforts

Green-Schools moved its annual Water Awards ceremony online today with a virtual ceremony shown on screens in 24 schools around the country.

Postponed in May due to Covid-19 restrictions, the ceremony celebrates the winners of the annual Water School of the Year Awards, Water poster competition and Water Ambassador Programme.

The Green-Schools Water theme is supported by Irish Water.

A Mayo primary school was named regional winner of the School of the Year for the Northern and Western Region.

St. Joseph’s NS, Bonniconlon, impressed with their great committee structure, which is inclusive of almost all class groups in the school. They also repaired taps, used timers, reduced flush capacity and did simple things like putting basins in sinks.

Their ‘Tap Wardens’ ensured taps were fully turned off at break times and the school went on numerous educational trips associated with water. Their actions lead to an impressive reduction in water use per person per day from 10.1 litres to 5.8 litres.

Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil in Glanmire, Cork, and Dominican College, Galway City, were named Ireland’s Water Schools of the Year at primary and secondary level respectively.

In the Water Poster Competition, Ballinrobe CS transition year student Eoin Conneely was named winner in the North Western Region.

The Green-Schools programme has moved much of its interaction online for the current school year, having developed a suite of Green-Schools Stay Home resources since March, including 13 weeks of activities related to the water theme.

This is the seventh year of the awards and partnership with Irish Water, which has seen over 2,000 schools attend interactive water workshops and Walk for Water events since 2013.

Following the awards today, Ger Greally 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.

"I am delighted to say that in the past year alone, as a result of this programme, Green-Schools have saved almost 600 million litres of water.

“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, who was event MC from a remote studio, said: “It was definitely not the same to be staring into a camera and set of screens for today’s event, instead of at a group of friendly faces, but we have to carry on.

“Over 200 members of the schools’ communities and each winners’ extended family could watch the ceremony through a live link today and we received messages of support that students and families appreciated their work being rewarded and recognised in this way. Messages like that keep us going at times like this.”

Today, 12 students won prizes for their artwork designed for this year’s Green-Schools Irish Water Poster Competition and four groups of students were honoured for their work as Water Ambassadors in their schools and communities.

This year also saw the first group of students winning for their entry to the inaugural video category of the poster competition.

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