Tsutomu Kawahira, Daisuke Sunakawa and Kaori Yamaguti, Japan

When three high school students at Japan’s Okinawa Prefectual Miyako Agriculture and Forestry High School started a water-related research project, their goal was to find a way to recover and protect groundwater which has been made nearly unusable because of chemical fertiliser used to grow sugarcane.

Little did Tsutomu Kawahira, Daisuke Sunakawa and Kaori Yamaguti know that they would then win the prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize in a formal ceremony during the World Water Week in Stockholm. Tsutomu, Daisuke and Kaori developed an environmentally friendly, organic fertiliser as an alternative to commercial fertilisers. Combined with proper management, the organic fertiliser not only gives Miyako island’s farmers the ability to reduce the nitrate contamination, it even recycles phosphorus accumulated in the soils. An Honourable Mention was given to Ron Neuman from Israel for his “development of an innovative microbial sensor based on engineered bacteria to monitor toxic chemicals in water.”