Did you know that sea urchins can warn of water pollution and that durian rind can purify water? These are just two of the many innovative solutions that have been awarded with the Stockholm Junior Water Prize since the international competition started in 1997. Every year, tens of thousands of students aged 15 to 20 enroll in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition with bold water project proposals of environmental, scientific, social, or technological significance. In each of the 38 participating countries, a national winner (team or individual) is chosen who then gets to represent the country in the international finals, usually held in Stockholm during World Water Week, at end of August.

The international winner takes home a USD 15,000 award and a blue crystal prize sculpture, which is presented by the Prize’s Patron, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. In addition to picking a winner of the Prize, the jury can also choose to honour an especially worthy project with a Diploma of Excellence. Starting in 2020, a third prize category is introduced, the People’s Choice Award, which lets the audience vote for their favourite project.

By their own account, most finalists feel like winners due to the many friendships and experiences the competition brings. It also offers opportunities to learn more about science and meet leading water experts. Maybe most rewarding of all – many of the students really develop smart water solutions that make a difference not only to themselves but to their communities.

“For me, participating in Stockholm Junior Water Prize was life changing!” says Kishoth Navaretnarajah who represented Sri Lanka in the 2013 finals. “It got me interested in the environment and water research. I also felt I wanted to do something for my community. We received support to develop the project that took us to Stockholm, a method to optimize soil moisture using solar evaporation, which requires less water and gives higher yields. It is now used in my home community.”

Stockholm Junior Water Prize is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), and delivered by independent national organizers, with support from SIWI and in accordance with its prize guidelines.

HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden announced the winners during an online award ceremony on 25 August, as part of World Water Week At Home.

Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki from Japan won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020 for a method to control soil runoff and increase food production, using the traditional Japanese soil solidification technology Tataki. In its citation the Jury noted that: “This year’s winners have proven that simple local solutions can solve water problems in a global context. Through systematic studies the contestants have developed methods to make water conservation and soil management more achievable. The contestants effectively combined scientific knowledge and experimentation to revolutionize the way water is collected, used, and conserved for agriculture in arid regions. The research also demonstrated soil erosion control and nutrient management to make agriculture sustainable through the method developed. The technology is a low-cost, simple to implement and globally applicable method for arid region agriculture.”

Zoe Gotthold, USA, was presented with a Diploma of Excellence for her project P.E.N.G.U.I.N.S, Promoting Emulsion Nullification Greenly Using Innovative Nucleation Surfaces. Her innovative approach to tackling oil spills impressed the Jury, whose citation said: “Global problems need creative solutions driven by fundamental knowledge and careful hypothesis-driven research. This project embodies such research and could have scalable solutions to control oil pollution in marine ecosystems. The contestant has demonstrated extraordinary knowledge and perseverance to accomplish the goal of this research.”

Adittya Kumar Chowdhury and Khaled Iftekhar from Bangladesh got the most votes in the new People’s Choice Award. To help people living in areas with polluted drinking water they have developed a new and inexpensive method to purify water through naturally derived poly glutamic acid in association with Moringa oleifera seeds as a coagulant.

Though held for the first time, the People’s Choice Award turned out to be hugely popular, with close to 60,000 votes cast and all participants receiving votes.

Watch the award ceremony here >>>

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More about SJWP



Who do you think deserves to win the 2020 Stockholm Junior Water Prize People’s Choice Award? For the first time ever, the annual Stockholm Junior Water Prize is complemented by an award from the audience, so that you can vote for your favourite project.

Immerse yourselves in all the cool project ideas, watch the participants’ own inspiring videos and learn firsthand about new solutions to current water problems.

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38 countries are part of Stockholm Junior Water Prize, with 29 of them actively competing in the 2020 edition. In all countries, SIWI collaborates with a national organizer that arranges the national competitions and nominate candidates to the international finals. Click on the map below for details on the organizers. To become a national organizer, contact Ms Ania Andersch.



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