Thai students win 2016 Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Three students from Thailand, Sureeporn Triphetprapa, Thidarat Phianchat and Kanjana Komkla, have received the 2016 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their innovative water
retention device that mimics the water retention capabilities of the Bromeliad species of plant.

The Water Prize Jury was impressed by the winners, in particular their exceptional creativity, unrelenting diligence, enthusiasm and true passion for water.

“The winning project addresses future water security and rural livelihoods using an elegant leap-frog technology which looks simple, but its beauty masks its complexity,” the Jury said in its citation. “The project embodies the theme well through its journey from the idea to application. It has already proven to be scalable and is now being tested in the field, by hundreds of farmers, who are now benefiting from the inspiration from beautiful plants which have an exceptional capacity to collect and store water.”

By examining the efficacy of natural water collection by plants, especially in terms of the shape of plants that collect and capture water, the three students built a device that mimics the water retention of a Bromeliad plant. The device has also been installed on trees on rubber plantations.

“I’m really happy but I think every team involved in the 2016 Stockholm Junior Water Prize is great,” said Kanjana Komkla as the three winners collected their award.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition brings together the world’s brightest young scientists to encourage their continued interest in water and the environment. This year, thousands of participants in countries all over the globe joined national competitions for the chance to represent their nation at the international final heldduring the World Water Week in Stockholm. Teams from 29 countries competed in the 2016 finals.

“This shows that to make real progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to start at the local level,” said Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI. “This is a very good example of that; a simple, smart an scalable solution, making a big difference.”

Asked how she would want to take the winning project further, Sureeporn Triphetprapa said: “I will use our idea to relieve poverty in our community.”