Winners of the 2022 GWS Excellence Awards Announced

A number of the 2022 GWS Excellence Awards category winners and excellence flag recipients, pictured with members of the judging panel, NFGWS and local authorities.

There was excitement aplenty at Thursday's Rural Water Services Conference as the winners of the 2022 Group Water Scheme (GWS) Excellence Awards were revealed in a special video announcement by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) Darragh O'Brien TD.  

Now in its second year, the awards aims to recognise the hard work and initiative being shown by group water schemes across the country. Entries had been invited across four categories and presided over by an independent, expert judging panel. Group water schemes that achieved a required standard within their respective category were awarded an excellence flag and commemorative plaque, with an overall winner in each category receiving a special trophy.

Ballinabranna GWS in County Carlow was crowned the winner of the Quality Assurance & Water Safety Planning category, while Mid-Roscommon GWS took home the prize for Water Demand Management & Climate Action. The award for Biodiversity Enhancement went to Magheracloone GWS, County Monaghan, with Crosserlough GWS in County Cavan winning the overall award for Community Engagement. 

In all, 12 excellence flags were awarded, with Glinsk-Creggs GWS, County Galway achieving excellence in three categories. The full list of excellence flag winners were (in alphabetical order):

Quality Assurance & Water Safety Planning
  • Ballinabranna GWS, Co. Carlow*
  • Dysart/Toonagh GWS, Co. Clare
  • Kilmaley-Inagh GWS, Co. Clare
  • West Limerick GWS, Co. Limerick
Water Demand Management & Climate Action
  • Glinsk-Creggs GWS, Co. Galway
  • Mid-Roscommon GWS, Co. Roscommon*
Biodiversity Enhancement
  • Glinsk-Creggs GWS, Co. Galway
  • Magheracloone GWS, Co. Monaghan*
  • West Limerick GWS, Co. Limerick
Community Engagement
  • Coole GWS, Co. Galway
  • Crosserlough GWS, Co. Cavan*
  • Glinsk-Creggs GWS, Co. Galway
* overall category winner

During his announcement, Minister O'Brien said: 

"These proudly flown flags will serve as a great beacon to your local community of your scheme’s achievements and quality ongoing service. Congratulations to each of the category winners; you have shown fantastic vision and leadership, and you should be hugely proud of this accolade.

"It’s also fantastic to see new names emerging on this year’s list of award winners along with some group water schemes that have added to the flags they received in 2021. Well done to all who entered, to those involved in the awards’ organisation and to the expert judging panel for their professionalism and dedication.

"This year’s award recipients are an inspiration to the rest of the sector, and I look forward to seeing more winners crowned in the years to come."

Speaking on stage at the conference, NFGWS CEO, Barry Deane, thanked the judging panel and all those who entered. In congratulating this year's winners, he encouraged group water schemes to attendance to get involved in 2023 as the awards continues to grow from strength to strength.