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22nd March 2024

World Water Day – 22nd March 2024

Since 1993, 22nd March has been recognised and celebrated as World Water Day. This United Nations observance celebrates the importance of freshwater in our lives and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. A key focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation. Here in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, we’re looking at some of projects and uses of water that help support SDGs, showing how local actions can help us meet global goals.  

The village of Colmonell is a designated Biosphere Community in beautiful South Ayrshire. Residents recognised that to host successful events the provision of community toilets was key, as a fundamental part of any visitor’s experience as well as to better serve local people. After being closed for several years, the Colmonell Community Association (CCA) managed to purchase the former public toilets for a nominal fee from South Ayrshire Council and set about restoring them through a series of grants. The facilities are available free of charge, although a donation box to help contribute to their upkeep is provided. The community can now host events whilst the dignity and wellbeing of guests is assured. This is an excellent local example of why access to safe water and sanitation are essential for unlocking economic growth and productivity, whilst supporting community needs and prosperity. 

The KPT Community micro-hydro is situated just outside Penpont and is a brilliant example of how community-led projects can help provide clean green energy. The villages of Keir, Penpont and Tynron came together to launch the scheme which produces roughly 125 megawatt hours per annum. Local volunteers welcome schools and colleges to visit the site to learn all about how the hydro scheme works and its contribution to green energy generation. The site also has a herb spiral, and two raised beds growing vegetables for anyone to help themselves, as well as a bench and interpretation boards explaining more about the scheme. The KPT Community micro-hydro shows we can benefit from water in more ways than just sanitation, providing a useful educational example of how water can provide electricity for a community.

Another project harnessing the power of water is the Galloway Hydro Scheme, built in the 1930s. This was one of the first all-river hydro schemes in the world, running from Loch Doon down to Tongland. With the ability to generate more than 100MW of power, the scheme was built to capture the power of the Ken-Dee river network, and is made up of six power stations, the most recent added in the 1980s. Powering roughly 218,000 homes, the scheme still operates today and has been regarded as one of the best value hydro power schemes built in the UK. It is also praised for the power stations’ Modernist architecture, which is now listed by Historic Environment Scotland. The Galloway Hydro Scheme is a large-scale demonstration of how the power of water can be harnessed, providing benefit to thousands of people across the country. 

Got any questions about projects or opportunities involving water in southwest Scotland? We’re happy to help, either through putting you in touch with our own team or by putting you in touch with partner organisations that may be able to help. Contact us via

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