DRY: Diary of a Water Superhero

A collaboration between the DRY Project (University of the West of England) and Waterwise in conjunction with Waterwise’s Water Saving Week May 17th-21st

A creative challenge for children to read and enjoy this engaging book and use their imagination to illustrate what their community would look like if we all used water more wisely!

What would your home, school, or garden look like if we were to use water more wisely?


The DRY competition came to a close on 6th June 2021 with a wonderful set of entries highlighting the creativity of the UK’s children when it comes to saving water! Thank you and well done to everyone who entered!

Winner of the 5-9 age group, England:

Dylan Damodharan

Winner of the 5-9 age group, Wales:

Ede and Carys 

Winner of the 10-13 age group, England:

Phoebe Dobbins

Winner of the 10-13 age group, Scotland:

Haydn Finnen

Winner of the 10-13 age group, Wales:

Tori, Daisy and Ffion 

highly commended

Evie and Lila, Sychdyn CP School

Georgia and Evie, Sychdyn CP School

Phoebe, Ella and Charlotte, Sychdyn CP School

Emily Beal, Coastlands CP School

Jessica White

Oliver and Olivia, Coastlands CP School

Sophie, Gwenllian and Eva, Coastlands CP School

Max Hamilton-Done, Barrow Hill School

Having won the Geography Association’s Silver Award, DRY: The Story of a Water Superhero, provides an ideal opportunity to engage young people to think about water use and enable positive behaviour change.
For teachers, this curriculum-led creative competition offers an ideal opportunity to embed geography, science and PSHE into real-world learning, informed by evidence-based scientific research. 

 It can be carried out in lessons / activities or set as a homework assignment. It is also ideal for out-of-school activity groups, and for parents getting their kids engaged with environmental issues.

The aim of the competition is to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of treating water as a precious resource in the face of climate change, based on the research of the Drought Risk and You (DRY) Project
  • Teach the causes of and impacts of drought in the UK
  • Prompt changes in behaviour to use water more wisely – inspiring children to be agents of change, to protect our communities and our planet, carrying the message back to their homes and families
  • To give them the confidence and background knowledge to engage with some of the themes and messages of COP26, the world’s biggest climate change summit being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November
  • Communicate the accessible science behind the DRY Project, part of the NERC-funded About Drought programme

The challenge: Get designing for change…

What would your home, school, or garden look like if we were to use water more wisely?

Answer this question in whatever way you prefer:
- A drawing, painting or computer graphic
- A model in any material you wish (submit entry as up to 3 clear photos of the same model) or a computer-generated model 
- Video (less than 2 minutes)
- Writing (no more than 2 pages of A4)
The deadline for submissions is May 28th, 2021.


A package of prizes is being offered in each age group, in each of the home nations. The winner will receive a copy of the DRY: The Story of a Water Superhero book, a water bottle and a £20 book token; their class receives a bundle of 30 books – available in Welsh for prize winners in Wales – along with other visually attractive and instructive materials, such as DRY’s family-focused water use Z-cards and DRY Drought Poster. Judges will be able to award copies of the book for Highly Commended individual entrants.

eligibility & how to enter

The competition is open to 5-9 and 10-13 year-olds. Entries need to be submitted via the link above between May 1st-28th, 2021. Make sure that the file is labelled with the participant’s name. 

  • Written entries need to be submitted as a PDF. Illustrative entries & photos of models – please submit as a .jpg. Videos entries – please submit as .mp4 (max 500MB). 
  • For bulk entries (eg for classes and groups) the maximum overall file size is 1GB, but each file can’t be more than 100 MB in size when submitted this way. Single file submissions can reach go up to 500 MB. When submitting group entries it is possible to submit as .zip files. 


Judges will be looking for imaginative ideas (rather than judging on artistic or technical skill) that demonstrate entrants have read the story, and thought carefully and creatively about how we can use water more wisely to protect their community and the planet.
Winners will be announced by the end of June/beginning of July, 2021.

The judges are: Professor Lindsey McEwen (leader, DRY Project); Nicci Russell (Managing Director, Waterwise), Victoria Williams (Environment Agency); Hannah Lacey (Natural Environment Research Council) and Luci Gorell Barnes (DRY: The Story of a Water Superhero artist).

Professor Lindsey McEwen of UWE, who leads the DRY Project, says: “This is a crucial time to engage young minds with the topic of water as a precious resource. The DRY book is designed for Key Stage 2 but we know it has wide appeal including KS1 and KS3. We are looking forward to seeing exciting and innovative ideas from children who are thinking creatively about the difference that their actions can make to their community, the environment and our planet in our changing climate.”

Nicci Russell, Managing Director of Waterwise, says: “At the end of a year of lockdown, when children and their families have seen first-hand every day how vital water is to life, I’m really excited about this project and can’t wait to see the amazing entries from schools across the four nations of the UK. 

“Water scarcity is a problem right here, right now, and even parts of the UK we might consider really wet have had problems getting water through to customers in the last couple of years – think Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the North West and South West of England! In the UK we’ve doubled how much water each person uses every day in the last 60 years (shocking!), and we’re going to need to halve it again in the face of climate change. Children and young people are a key part of the solution and I know from my own school visits how they cut through the ‘guff’ and come up with amazing innovations!”