Community Water Development Fund

The Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage funds LAWPRO to provide the Community Water Development Fund. This fund supports community groups to enhance the quality of local streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. The fund has been in place since 2017, with growing interest year on year.

The standard of applications for funding is high, making the assessment process more difficult. The fund delivers a broad range of water projects that benefit the amenity of local areas. Types of projects approved for funding include:

  • Awareness raising initiatives such as river clean ups, biodiversity information boards, citizen science workshops, outdoor classrooms, rainwater harvesting, and enhancement of wetlands.
  • Preparation of local plans such as feasibility studies, habitat management plans, ecological surveys, and biodiversity action plans.
  • River and habitat enhancement works such as planting of native species and hedgerow, pollinator friendly planting, river-bank stabilisation, fencing and riparian buffer zones.

Community Water Development Fund OPEN until Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Your local community or voluntary group can now apply for a grant under the Community Water Development Fund 2022. This Fund helps local communities deliver projects and initiatives that enhance the local water environment, delivering multiple benefits for biodiversity and climate action. The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) administers the Fund on behalf of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. It is open to all community and voluntary groups to apply.

LAWPRO launched the 2022 Fund at their annual ‘Communities Caring for Water’ conference held virtually on Saturday 20 November 2021. The conference is an annual event hosted jointly between The Rivers Trust and LAWPRO. This year, almost 300 attendees representing community groups across the whole of Ireland shared knowledge and experiences of caring for their local water environment.

Speaking at the event Sheevaun Thompson, Funding lead with LAWPRO said “since it was first launched in 2018, demand for the Community Water Development Fund has increased year on year. It is exciting to announce the fund for 2022 to support locally led community projects.”

You can complete the grant application form online here . Closing date for receipt of applications is 12 noon on Tuesday, 15 March 2022.

Projects should show benefits for water quality, biodiversity, and climate action.

There is a total fund of €380,000 available for 2022. Grants awarded will range from €500 to €25,000. For support with your application contact your local Community Water Officer Communities Team – Local Authority Water Programme (

If you experience any technical difficulties on the website, please email  or contact us at

Funding Webinar 2022


A funding Webinar took place on Thursday 13th January 2022 to help those involved in Community Groups who would like to make application to the Community Water Development Fund 2022.

The Fund is open to all community and voluntary groups including not-for-profit Community and Voluntary Groups; Rural Networks; Urban Networks; Environmental Non-Government Organisations, Clubs, Associations or other appropriate bodies in the Republic of Ireland. Grants may range from €500 to €25,000.


1. Overview of CWDF Open Call – Sheevaun Thompson

2. Types of projects – Thomas Carolan & Conor Ruane

3. Online Portal – Sheevaun Thompson

4. Launch of Blue Dot Award – Bernie White and Cormac McConigley

Tidy Towns special Awards

Delgany Tidy Towns, County Wicklow scoop prize money of €2,000

Well done to Delgany TidyTowns who were announced overall winner of the Waters and Communities Special Award at the SuperValu TidyTowns awards ceremony held in the RDS, Dublin today.  In their application, the group demonstrated a great appreciation for their water environment and water heritage by undertaking innovative initiatives during the Pandemic and are worthy winners. They set up RiverWatch and carried out a Citizen Science investigation of the Three Trouts Stream system – mapping its course, tributaries, land-use, risks, pressures and water quality. They organised volunteers to take part in Earthwatch Dublin Waer Blitz, recording 50 samples. Getting completely immersed, they hosted a Water Heritage Workshop during Heritage Week in August and also facilitated Greystones and Delgany Junior Tidy Towns to re-connect with their local river and streams.

 Judging the Waters and Communities Special Award

 There was a massive entry to the competition with 55 applications received from across the country in 2021. The standard of application was exceptional and it was a very difficult assessment process.

All entries were assessed by a panel of judges appointed by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters Programme. The judges assessed each application for initiatives undertaken since the start of the pandemic. based on the following criteria:

  1. Awareness-Raising about the community group’s local water body (15 Marks)
  2. Community Involvement (e.g. by schools, landowners or other groups) (20 Marks)
  3. Stakeholder Engagement with the Local Authority, Local Development Company or any public agencies in developing the project (15 Marks)
  4. Project Benefits: long-term benefits to the environment and local community (40 Marks)
  5. Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future (10 Marks)

The 2021 prize fund of €7,000 for the Waters and Communities Award was divided as follows:

County Region Centre Status  Prize Money
Wicklow Midlands & East Delgany Tidy Towns Regional winner &

Overall winner

 € 2,000.00
Dublin Midlands & East Raheny Tidy Village Group Highly Commended  €    500.00
Clare South & MidWest Ennis Tidy Towns Winner  € 1,000.00
Kerry South & MidWest Tralee Tidy Towns Highly Commended  €    500.00
Cavan North West & West Mullagh Sports Partnership Winner  € 1,000.00
Roscommon North West & West Ballyleague Village Renewal & TidyTowns Committee Highly Commended  €    500.00
Wexford South East Seal Resue Ireland Winner  € 1,000.00
Carlow South East Leighlinbridge Improvement Group Highly Commended  €    500.00


Background to the Waters and Communities Special Award

In addition to the main SuperValu TidyTowns competition, Special Awards are held each year to highlight particular local environmental activities. Details of all the Special Awards and winners can be viewed at

The Waters and Communities Special Award aims to encourage communities to get more involved with their local waterbodies by helping to preserve, promote and fully utilise their local natural heritage. Community groups who showed an appreciation for their water environment, and for water heritage in general, during the previous twelve months were invited to apply.

Community groups might, for example, receive this award for carrying out clean-ups, providing or upgrading amenities, supporting biodiversity, promoting angling or raising awareness in various ways. The Waters and Communities Special Award is sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters Programme. The Waters and Communities Special Award was first introduced in 2017 and is now a regular feature in the TidyTowns calendar. It is open to all community groups to apply.