Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki won Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020

Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki greatly impressed the Stockholm Junior Water Prize jury with their method to control soil runoff and increase food production. The Japanese team receives the prestigious award for a solution that could increase global food security.

In their project video, Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki described how they developed the novel approach to tackle soil erosion, which draws on the soil solidification technology Tataki from their native Japan:

“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 explains.

HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden announced the winners of the 2020 Stockholm Junior Water Prize at an online award ceremony on 25 August.

“Thank you, I feel very honoured!” Takuma Miyaki said on receiving the Prize and Hiroki Matsuhashi added: “I am very surprised, I never thought we would win!”

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.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize is an international competition to encourage young people to dedicate themselves to tackling major water issues. Since it was first launched in 1997, many of the projects presented have turned out to solve major challenges related to water. Currently, 38 countries are part of the competition though, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, in 2020 only 29 national contests could be held. The finals were held entirely online, and all the projects can be seen on the participants’ own community web page, Watertank.