The young water scientists and engineers of the future were showcased as Cranfield University hosted the Tomorrow’s Water national competition finals. 

The annual scientific water competition is aimed at pre-university students (aged 15-20) and is open to all schools in the UK. It is organised by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and saw representatives from Severn Trent Water, Cranfield University, Future Water Association and CIWEM act as judges. 

The competition encourages the use of scientific research methods, experimentation, monitoring, and statistical analyses to generate a poster and report for presentation to judges and the public. Submitted projects are expected to improve the quality of life and / or the environment through interventions in areas such as water quality and biodiversity, water resources management, water protection and conservation, and water and wastewater treatment, as well as the interactions between society and water resources and services. 

Individuals and teams, of up to three, competed for the opportunity to win an all-expenses paid trip to represent the UK at the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) and attend a week-long cultural exchange programme at the end of August. 

The winners of the UK heat were Jennifer Rodgers and Anna Morris, both 16, from the Stephen Perse Foundation Senior School in Cambridge. Their idea, ‘Flow – integrated water systems for the home’, aims to repurpose water that runs out of baths, showers and sinks as toilet water (if this water is clean) using sensors. 

Their school will also benefit from their success, being awarded a £300 grant. 

The overall winners of the prize will receive $5,000 and an award presented by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

The winning team said: “We have been working on this for about 18 months now, fitting it in around our other school work. We feel our idea definitely has real-world application and could be used more extensively in and outside the home, as well as being good for the environment.” 

One of Cranfield’s academics, Professor Bruce Jefferson, gave a talk to all the competitors who were also shown around the University’s water and sewage treatment works and the associated test and analytical facilities used by researchers. 

A team from Guildford High School in Surrey received an honourable mention for their work on a portable solar still, ideal for remote and disaster-hit areas of the world. One of the other competitors, Skye Arnott from Albyn School in Aberdeen, travelled down from Scotland and was praised for her entry ‘Can jellyfish blooms be predicted?’

The Tomorrow's Water competition winning team with the judges
The Tomorrow's Water competition winning team with the judges

Notes for editors

About the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)

CIWEM is the only Royal Chartered professional body dedicated to the water and environment sector. Representing and supporting a community of thousands of members globally, dedicated to improving water and environmental management and associated social and cultural issues.

Since 1895, CIWEM members have been the leading practitioners in improving the quality and management of water and the environment. Through professional expertise CIWEM provides valuable advice on policy and practice, giving independent guidance for government, academia, the media and the public. For the water and environment sector CIWEM is the professional body of choice, setting standards and providing the expertise to drive the industry forward.

As an independent charity we champion professional standards, impartiality and the use of scientific evidence in the management of the environment. The public benefits of these activities are:

Qualified professional water and environmental managers.

  • Development and promotion of the highest standards of professional expertise and conduct.
  • Protection of the public from pollution, environmental destruction and natural hazards by our members.
  • Application of scientific rigour to ensure the best outcomes for society now and in the future.

Find out more about CIWEM.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.