Nature is the best teacher – Thai students win Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Students from Thailand have won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Their winning project is a water retention device that is modelled on the water tank of the bromeliad plant. They studied the natural water retention capacity of bromeliad plants, in particular those varieties that not only collect moisture but are also able to retain the water collected in their tissues. The model they used for the design of their device was the bromeliad plant, but they also tested the device on rubber trees.

The motto of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize awarded at the 2016 World Water Week was “Water for sustainable growth”. The jury emphasised that the winning project was not only a creative and innovative solution, it also served long-term water security and rural livelihoods. The project is spectacular, but the elegant solutions are based on real, complex professional design that the winning girls have developed from idea to application independently. The project is currently being tested in the field by a number of farmers, who are now benefiting from the discovery the girls made while learning from nature.

“I’m really happy but I think every team is the best! And thank you everyone.”, said Kanjana Komkla on behalf of the team. They aim to use the device to relieve poverty in their own community.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is an excellent opportunity for young people wishing to pursue careers in science and interested in the issue of water to challenge themselves and to share their innovative ideas with each other and with leading water management experts from around the world. This year, teams from 29 countries competed in the finals.

Founded twenty years ago, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize has provided a motivation to thousands of young people in the 15 to 20 age group to create projects with environmental protection, scientific, social or technological significance. Each year, the Prize is awarded at the Stockholm World Water Week. On the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the scientific prize which has played a decisive role in the lives of participating young people, the Tank initiative, which serves as a community and a scientific forum for finalists, was created. The new platform aims to create a pathway for the talented young finalists into the profession. Through the programme, experienced researchers can mentor young people to advance their careers in science, while a number of supporters have provided funding to launch the programme. The website of the Water Tank programme provides information about the talented young researchers who have reached the finals in previous years and their projects.