stockholm prize winnersSpeaking of irrigation, the folks at the International Center for Environmental Arts emailed Grist about the South African students who won the 2005 Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

From the press release:

Pontso Moletsane, Motobele Motshodi and Sechaba Ramabenyane from South Africa were awarded the prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize tonight in a formal ceremony at Dansens Hus in Stockholm, during the World Water Week in Stockholm. Pontso Moletsane, Motobele Motshodi and Sechaba Ramabenyane from Setjhaba Se Maketsee Combined School, received the Prize from hands of HRH Crown Princess Victoria on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. They also received a USD 5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture. South Africa won the Prize for the second time in three years.

American Cultural Ambassadors David and Renate Jakupca, founders of ICEA comments: “The South African team proposed a revolutionary solution to minimize the need for water in small-scale irrigation. They developed a low-current electric soil humidity sensor which uses light detection to control water pipe valves and improve irrigation efficiency. By automating irrigation so that it occurs mainly at night, less water is lost to evaporation. Their invention, called the ‘Nocturnal Hydro Minimiser,’ is technically simple and inexpensive to produce. It enables communities to use the limited water resource more efficiently, to improve food production and to contribute to eradication of poverty. In an area where No Water means No Future this is a valuable contribution – BRAVO to Pontso, Motobele and Sechaba”

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Sounds like another example where technology can be used for good rather than evil.

Pictured above: Motebele Motshodi, Sechaba Ramabenyane and Pontso Moletsane together with HRH Crown Princess Victoria. (Photo:

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[editor’s note, by Chris Schults] The Nocturnal Hydro Minimiser is currently not for sale. My post title is simply in reference to television infomercials.