Irish Water has combined with An Taisce to deliver two flagship partnerships. Think Before you Flush and the Green-Schools Water flag. Both programmes are addressing two fundamental objectives for Irish Water: the provision of clean safe drinking water to the public, and its safe return to the environment.
Think Before You Flush (TBYF) is a national public awareness campaign about the problems that sanitary products, wet wipes and other items can – if they are flushed down the toilet – cause in our homes and our neighbour’s homes, our wastewater infrastructure and in the marine environment.
Green-Schools is Ireland’s leading environmental management and award programme, working with primary and secondary schools across the country. The water theme looks at developing awareness around water conservation and how to effectively manage this important resource in our schools and at home. Irish Water launched the seventh year of their partnership in October 2019, with over 100,000 students and teachers taking part.
We are into our seventh year working in partnership with An Taisce on GS and TBYF. Both programmes are targeted at national and local level through engagement in schools, communities (Tidy Towns), festivals, bespoke events and media campaigns. We have built up brilliant relationships across both organisations and these have supported really positive environmental and social changes through education and behavioural change at every age group.
Irish Water have a strong volunteering spirit throughout the business. Teams from across the business play a role in delivering support to the partnerships. They do so by attending and participating at school visits, tours of water and wastewater plants, talks at presentations and events, beach cleans and many others. The support comes from all areas of the business with each region having a panel of people who dedicate time out of their work hours and own time to support.
The impact of the partnerships has been phenomenal to date at Green-Schools level. There has been 22 water forums, 3 walk for water events, 3 ambassador training and 3 beach cleans. Over a 100,000 students each year have received the water flag and learned of the importance of water, why it’s valued, and how we should conserve it.
The TBYF campaign forms part of all Clean Coasts communications and was promoted at circa 20 roadshows across the country last year. In addition, the campaign is promoted directly to 900 Clean Coasts groups around the country comprising of circa 25,000 volunteers. The benefits and impacts were seen at local level where areas targeted saw a decrease in ragging received at waste water treatment plants and reductions in blocked sewer occurrences. The campaign run through the year saw media coverage to the value of €104,340, achieved with an estimated audience of over 2 million people through print and online coverage, both national and regional.
Irish Water provided €16,814 through employee fundraising. Employees also volunteered 400 hours to local groups and projects during the year.