Japanese team wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020

Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki from Japan have received the prestigious 2020 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their innovation to prevent soil erosion. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden announced the winners during an online award ceremony as part of World Water Week At Home on 25 August.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize is an international competition where students between 15 and 20 present solutions to major water challenges.

Photo credit: SIWI 

Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki have developed a method to control soil runoff and increase food production, using the traditional Japanese soil solidification technology Tataki.

“This system is made of only inexpensive natural materials, so it is cheap and eco-friendly. We would like to spread this system to the world and solve water and food problems,” the duo said in a filmed presentation of their project.  

The Jury noted, “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 revolutionise the way water is collected, used, and conserved for agriculture in arid regions.”

The winners were announced by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the Prize’s Official Patron, who expressed great admiration for all the finalists.

A Diploma of Excellence was awarded to Zoe Gotthold, USA, for a creative approach to limiting the impact of oil pollution in marine ecosystems. By isolating the emulsion that forms between spilled oil and seawater she had found a promising solution and “demonstrated extraordinary knowledge and perseverance”, according to the Jury.

This year, the public could also vote in the People’s Choice Award, which went to Adittya Kumar Chowdhury and Khaled Iftekhar from Bangladesh. They have developed a low-cost method to purify water with naturally derived poly glutamic acid and Moringa oleifera seeds.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize has been organised every year since 1997 by Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI, with Xylem as Founding Partner. This year everything was however online, due to Covid-19. “I am humbled by the fact that many of these projects were developed under the most challenging of circumstances,” said Ania Andersch, manager for Stockholm Junior Water Prize at SIWI.

Source: SIWI Stockholm International Water Institute