TidyTowns Waters and Communities Special Award 2022

Recognising community actions for water and biodiversity

Please note: The deadline for the Waters and Communities Special Awards has now passed and entrants will be notified in conjunction with the main Tidy Towns winners. 

This award has been a regular feature in the SuperValu TidyTowns competition since 2017. Prizes are awarded to communities for projects and initiatives that deliver local benefits for water and biodiversity.

Applications to this award highlight the importance of a local stream, river, estuary, canal, lake, or beach and tell us what winning this award would mean to their local community. In previous years, the range of community initiatives has included local clean-ups, enhancement of public amenities, conservation of biodiversity and heritage, citizen science, promotion of angling and water-based activities, education and awareness raising, promotion of local actions in support of water, biodiversity, and climate action goals.

A panel of judges appointed by the three partners, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland, and the Local Authority Waters Programme, will assess each application under the following headings:
1. Awareness raising (15 Marks)
2. Community involvement (20 Marks)
3. Stakeholder engagement (15 Marks)
4. Project benefits (40 Marks)
5. Highlights to share (10 Marks)

The Waters and Communities Special Award is open to all community groups. The three partners are committed to the success of this award and provide an annual prize fund of €7,000, which is divided across the four regions for the TidyTowns competition. With the overall award winners receiving €2,000 to support their local project or initiative.

To read about previous winners of the Waters and Communities Special Awards see:


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 2021 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 https://www.tidytowns.ie.

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.