The NFGWS has been granted €100,000 of funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) to go towards the installation of drinking water refill stations on 16 group water schemes around Ireland.
Strategically located drinking water refill stations grant greater public access to water, thus fulfilling a key aspect of the recast Drinking Water Directive and helping to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastics.
This new project follows on from the successful installation of refill stations in four GWSs in late 2022, through a similar initiative between the DHLGH and the NFGWS. The initiative garnered extremely positive feedback from participating GWSs and received great interest and compliments from other GWSs and members of the public.
Speaking about the funding announcement, NFGWS senior development co-ordinator, Joe Gallagher, expressed why the NFGWS was so keen to be involved:
Over the last two years, several group water schemes have been installing drinking water refill stations as part of a number of government-funded NFGWS projects. We have been blown away by the levels of goodwill and gratitude from both participating GWSs and their members.
These refill stations complement key work areas of the NFGWS, including the promotion of greater access to drinking water and our climate action efforts. The drinking water refill station design also has space for graphics that can be used to include GWS information, the source catchment and other sustainable messaging.
The installation of the refill station will be just one aspect of each of GWS’s participation in the project. Those involved will also promote its use through visits to primary schools within their network catchment. Each group water scheme will sponsor the provision of reusable water bottles to every student, along with the presentation of the NFGWS All About Water curriculum to 4–6th class pupils.
'It’s important that each local community fully understands the thought process behind the installation of these refill stations, as well as the value of having access to high quality drinking water’, explained Joe.
The future of each group water scheme — indeed, the future of our planet — depends on communities taking action to protect precious resources. School visits educate the leaders of tomorrow, who also bring home important messages to their family.
In order to be considered for inclusion, each GWS must identify a suitable location for the unit that is safely and easily accessible to the public and ensures maximum visibility within the community.
As referenced, GWSs must also have a primary school on its supply network and be happy to provide reusable water bottles and copies of the All About Water curriculum (for 4th-6th class) students. GWSs must be fully compliant with the terms and conditions of the annual operational subsidy and have a dedicated point of contact available to assist with the execution of the project.
Interested group water schemes are invited to contact their local NFGWS development officer to find out more about the project.
This article originally featured in the most recent edition of the Rural Water News magazine. To read the full edition and to sign up to our magazine mailing list, click here.