Catchment News

2021 TidyTowns Waters and Communities Special Award

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.

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 Water 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.

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
Dublin Midlands & East Raheny Tidy Village Group Highly Commended €500
Clare South & MidWest Ennis Tidy Towns Winner €1,000
Kerry South & MidWest Tralee Tidy Towns Highly Commended  €500
Cavan North West & West Mullagh Sports Partnership Winner €1,000
Roscommon North West & West Ballyleague Village Renewal & TidyTowns Committee Highly Commended €500
Wexford South East Seal Resue Ireland Winner €1,000
Carlow South East Leighlinbridge Improvement Group Highly Commended €500

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)

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.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.