Young innovators take on global water challenges in Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2021

Young innovators take on global water challenges in Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2021

This year’s Stockholm Junior Water Prize includes exciting projects from 32 countries, with 44 finalists presenting innovative water solutions, from new approaches to treating radioactive wastewater to a smart system to track and predict home water use. Some of the finalist projects also explore how we can use local, natural resources – such as algae and aquatic weeds – to help ensure access to clean water for everyone. Read about them below.

The winner of the prize will be announced on August 24, during World Water Week in Stockholm. The winner of the People’s Choice Award, which received a record 55,000 votes this year, will also be announced during the online ceremony. You can view the ceremony by registering for World Water Week. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize was created 25 years ago by the Stockholm International Water Institute, and Xylem is proud to be a founding sponsor of the competition.

Purifying water polluted by petroleum using local materials

The young water innovators team from Nigeria created a natural purification system using seeds and charcoal that helps to purify water polluted with petroleum.

“Nigeria has been facing water problems over the years due to oil spillage into the water bodies, making the water unsuitable for consumption,” writes finalist Obikoya Ayomide, who worked on the project with Ajasa Kehinde Timilehin. “Different parts of the country record up to about 30 to 50 deaths monthly due to consumption of this water. Some communities don't even have access to drinking water.”


Treating radioactive wastewater in Fukushima using algae

A group of young innovators from Japan looks at an alternative way to treat radioactive wastewater in Fukushima using indigenous algae.

“[We] have attempted to develop a treatment system using these indigenous plants for the treatment of radioactively contaminated water,” writes finalists Miki Kamimura. “The final goal is to propose a novel alternative to a current approach: discharge of treated water into the ocean.”


Comparing the impact of two energy crops: corn and the cup plant

For their finalist project, the young innovators team from Germany explored the sustainability benefits of a new type of energy crop, the cup plant, which could have less of an environmental impact than corn.

“I think a sustainable future cannot be achieved with one revolutionary idea,” writes finalist Melina Reckermann, who worked on the project with Isabell Seibel. “We need a lot of little ideas and little discoveries to build our future. But to achieve this goal it is important that every country and every person work together because we all live on the same planet.”

Creating a new kind of biofertilizer to support local farmers

A group of young innovators from Mexico examined how to use aquatic weeds to produce a safe biofertilizer for farmers along the San Pedro River for their finalist project.
“The San Pedro River is of great cultural importance to the Mayan culture, connects a wide wetland network, and is a revenue source to the local fishing [community],” writes finalist Lisania Karina Monzón Fernández, who worked on the project with Sofía Tress González. “However, some of the many problems faced by these communities are the growth of aquatic weeds, which if uncontrolled, might harm fish and fisheries, and the shortage of commercial fertilizers.”


An integrated smart water management system using IoT

The team of young water innovators from Bangladesh developed a smart solution to help people track and predict their water usage habits to reduce water wastage and advance sustainability.

“Bangladesh is growing impressively fast,” writes finalist Muhammad Abrar Zawad, who worked on the project with Tanjim Zaman Khan. “But the population burst had adverse consequences on our cities, emerging overpopulation problems on almost every region of livelihood. Water demand is skyrocketing, prompting rapid groundwater depletion. As water demand escalates, water supply, even in different areas of the capital, is getting increasingly disproportionate.”

Xylem’s participation in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize is part of our ongoing commitment to igniting the next generation of water innovators and champions.

Discover how Xylem is empowering the next generation of water innovators in an article by Austin Alexander, Vice President, Sustainability and Social Impact at Xylem.
Learn more about Xylem’s youth program Xylem Ignite.
Learn more about how Xylem is working with City Football Club, parent of Manchester City, to educate and inspire youth to solve water, including ways to become a “water hero” by taking a pledge to use less water.