An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme has teamed up with Irish Water for a fourth year to support schools undertaking their Water theme.  The Water theme aims to increase awareness of water conservation among primary and secondary school students.

During the last academic year schools in Ireland saved 582 litres of water per person per year: enough water to make 660 million cups of tea – a fact the students of Ranelagh Multi Denominational School (RMDS) helped to celebrate with a water-themed tea party!

RMDS were the recipients of the Water School of the Year Award 2016 for the Dublin region.

The school’s staff and students embraced the Green-Schools Water theme. They made physical changes by installing water displacement devices in toilets, replacing large sinks and reducing their water pressure. The Green-Schools committee attended a Water Forum and members delivered water saving workshops to all class groups in the school.

Examining water issues in their local area was also a topic: the committee tested the water quality of the nearby Grand Canal and investigated rainwater harvesting. By holding a Walk for Water event they spread awareness of global water issues too. Their actions lead to the school reducing their already low water usage of 9.51 litres per person per day to 8.98 litres per person per day – a six per cent decrease.

445,000 engaged students!

This year will see the return of the Green-Schools Irish Water Poster Competition and the School of the Year Award. In addition to these competitions Green-Schools and Irish Water will be launching the second year of the Green-Schools Water Ambassador Programme for second-level students;  delivering 20 Water Forums to primary and secondary schools and piloting a staff engagement programme in Irish Water, which hopes to assist Irish Water staff in further supporting schools with practical help and advice.

Last year the Ambassador programme delivered advanced water workshops to 38 students in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. In May 2016, 192 schools in Ireland received the Green Flag award for Water. Since it began the theme has reached over 445,000 students and 35,000 teachers and over the past three years of the Irish Water partnership 60 Water Forums have taken place around Ireland serving 2,400 students and teachers who have brought the water saving message home to their school communities.

At the launch, Cathy Baxter, Manager, Green-Schools said:

“We are delighted to be at Ranelagh Multi Denominational School to celebrate the launch of the fourth year of our partnership with Irish Water and to celebrate the school’s amazing work on water conservation. We hope to build on our success this year and bring the message of water conservation to more schools and homes – 660 million cups of tea can be improved on!”

Commenting on the partnership, Annabel FitzGerald, Senior Communications Officer, Irish Water added:

“Learning about the value of water, water conservation and our water and wastewater network from an early age is incredibly important and by educating and working with young people throughout Ireland we can help to improve our water behaviours.  We are delighted to partner with Green-Schools for a fourth year and we are looking forward to developing this programme further with the introduction of the Irish Water Staff Engagement Programme where by students will be able to avail of educational workshops led by our top engineers at some of our water and wastewater sites.”