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Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize past winners

Challenge yourself at the Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize.
An annual water science competition for high school students.

2023 Winner

Mikayla Rodger, Meriden School


Mikayla's project involves research into the causes of toxic cyanobacteria blooms and the development of a system which mitigates the risk. Cyanobacteria blooms plague global waterways and seriously impact the health of aquatic organisms, terrestrial animals, and humans. This threat is growing in prevalence alongside climate change and thus she aimed to design a system which prevents uncontrolled cyanobacteria reproduction (a bloom event), whilst allowing natural populations to exist. The design, the SolarCyanoSlayer, is also aimed to be self-sustaining for long-term implementation and constructed of biologically derived and recycled materials, reducing the embodied energy of construction. When placed in simulated eutrophic conditions the invention was demonstrated to be highly effective in countering cyanobacteria blooms and subsequently improving overall water quality.

View the 2023 International Finalist Catalogue



2022 Winner

Julia Cummins, PLC Sydney


Julia studied nanosilver, the tiny particles of silver that have a detrimental impact on our environment when it is released into waterways. By studying the population and heart rates of the aquatic organism Daphnia magna in varying concentrations of nanosilver, Julia discovered a level at which nanosilver does not pose a toxicity risk. This level was 0.26–0.50 milligrams per litre (mg/L), and exceeding this value would cause toxicity in Daphnia magna, as well as other aquatic organisms.

Read the full article on Water Source here.
View the 2022 International Finalist Catalogue

2021 Winner

Annabelle Strachan, Meriden School

Annabelle Strachan

Annabelle’s study investigated the feasibility of a bio-flocculant as an accessible, safe, affordable and environmentally friendly option to reduce turbidity. Using a combination of dried lemon peel and chitosan, Annabelle tested different concentrations to find the optimal dosages to reduce turbidity. The bio-flocculant identified offered an affordable treatment option for those with limited access to clean water while being environmentally friendly and offering no adverse health effects sometimes associated with flocculation.

Read the full article on Water Source here.
View the 2021 International Finalist Catalogue


2020 Winner

2020 Winner - Emma Serisier, Bishop Druitt College

Emma Serisier

Emma’s study looked at potential biowaste adsorbents to decrease the phosphate run-off into natural waterways from agricultural fertilisers and animal manures. Identifying eggshell waste as an effective adsorbent for phosphate, Emma developed a mathematical model and website for farmers to calculate cost savings and application rates of eggshell on their soils. This free and accessible tool will help farmers counteract their environmental footprint.

Read the full article on Water Source here.
View Emma's Written Project


2019 Winner

Macinley Butson, The Illawarra Grammar School, New South Wales

2019 Winner: Macinley Butson

The SODIS Sticker: Development and testing of a Film based detector system for appropriate Ultraviolet Solar Disinfection (SODIS) of Water

Macinley has developed the SODIS sticker, an innovative ultraviolet radiation sticker which accurately measures the solar UV exposure required to sanitise drinking water. This is done through a high accuracy transparent UV-sensitive film coupled with a partially UV blocking filter, which allows the SODIS sticker to measure direct UV exposure from the sun and reflected UV from other objects. At just over one cent to produce, it is also a cost-effective and safe way of purifying drinking water for developing communities

Following Macinley winning the Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize in May 2019, she went on to take home the International Stockholm Junior Water Prize in August 2019. The Prize was presented to Macinley by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. 

Read more here about Macinley's win in Stockholm

Macinley Stockholm

View our 2019 Finalist Video Pitches


2018 Winner

Minh Nga Nguyen, Sydney Girls High School, New South Wales

Minh Nga Nguyen - Award

Recycling Waste into Biochar: A Sustainable Wastewater Filter and Fertiliser for the Agricultural Industry

Minh Nga Nguyen, Sydney Girls High School (NSW)
Nga’s project is entitled “Recycling Waste into Biochar”, a sustainable waste water filter and fertilizer for the agricultural industry. Her project formed a model of application in which agricultural plant wastes are recycled into a multipurpose biochar charcoal, that can filter wastewater and fertilise plants. Nga found that bamboo biochar filter packs could remove 45.6% of harmful pollutants in wastewater, lowering pollutant content to meeting Australian guidelines. Her findings have the potential for application in the agricultural industry, allowing farmers to recover polluting plant wastes and turn it into biochar used to treat livestock wastewater, as well as aid crop growth.

View Nga's poster
Minh Nga Nguyen - Poster


2017 Winner

Macinley Butson, The Illawarra Grammar School, New South Wales

Macinley’s project involved the design and testing of a simple and affordable mechanical device to help solve the problems of clean water and power for people in developing communities. The Solar System, which produces solar energy, provides a supply of clean potable water for personal use as well as a sterile water supply for medical use. Macinley’s invention has the potential to help many people around the world as it can increase green energy power generation by over 70% per day and supply clean water daily.

Read more about Macinley's wining project 

View Macinley's poster

The Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize was awarded at Ozwater’17 in Sydney. Watch the video below and hear what Macinley said about winning the award:

In our second video Macinley shares with us her Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize experience:


2016 Winner

Mohamed Jakaria, Queensland Academies Health Science Campus, Southport, Queensland

Mohamed’s investigation examined the efficiency of Elodea canadensis in removing nitrate in effluent discharged from wastewater treatment plants. This was explored by answering the research question: What is the effect of increasing surface area of Elodea canadensis on the assimilation of nitrate in effluent discharged from Beenleigh wastewater treatment plant? This autotrophic aquatic plant’s ability to use inorganic nitrogen for growth provides an ecologically friendly solution to the tertiary treatment of wastewater.

The Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize was awarded at Ozwater’16 in Melbourne. Watch the video below and hear what Mohamed said at the awards ceremony:


2015 Winner

William Tsai, Queensland Academy for Health Sciences

The effect of nitrate levels on the growth of Anabaena Circinalis

2014 Winner

Lewis Nitschinsk

An investigation into the optimal reclamation point of phosphate from an industrial wastewater treatment facility through chemical precipitation using Calcium Chloride.


2013 Winner

Declan Fahey, Hellyer College

Facing the Reality of Groundwater Salinity.

2012 Winner

I-Ji Jung, Queensland Academy for Health Sciences  

Polymer Power: The extraction of divalent heavy metal ions from aqueous solutions using sodium polyacrylate and its potential use to treat heavy metal contaminated waterways in Queensland, Australia.


2011 Winner

Muthuja Bavanendrakumar, Queensland Academy for Health Sciences

Eutrophication of Waterways from Golf Corse Runoff 

2010 Winner

Stephanie Reed, Mudgee High School

Artificial Wetlands: Recycling Household Grey Water.


2009 Winner

Storm Holwill, Marist Regional College 

In the Name of Freshwater – An investigation into the capacity of marine environments to cultivate the microalgae Dunaliella tertiolecta to sequester atmospheric and industrial carbon dioxide and produce plant bio-mass for bio-fuel production without the use of fresh water.


2008 Winner

Dayffyd and Gwylim Klippel-Cooper , Glenunga International High School

Water Filtration utilizing Sea Shells.


2007 Winner

Robbie Bishop-Taylor, Great Lakes College

The Identification of Critical Salinity Thresholds for Upper Estuarine Plants


2006 Winner

Linda Van and Alex De Sousa, St James College 

The Sustainability of the Brisbane River for Recreation and Commercial Use

2005 Winner

Andrew Stewart, Karabar Distance Education Centre

Multi-tiered Wetlands – A New Technique for Improving the Efficiency of Artificial Wetlands

2004 Winner

Nilmini Wijemunige, Somerville House

Water Treatment with Free-floating Aquatic Plants

2003 Winner

Andrew McLeod, North Sydney Boys High School

Improving Water Quality with Terrestrial Plants

2002 Winner

Andrew Shaw and Nathan Sawyer, Newton Moore College

Breeding and Releasing the Native Western Pygmy Perch

2001 Winner

Neil Robinson and Stuart Fearon, Newton Moore College

Habitat restoration and its impact on frog populations

2000 Winner

Jonathon Duniam, Marist Regional College

Habitat Assessment for the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus yabbimunna) on Shorewell Creek, Burnie, Tasmania