US student wins international water prize

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Her four-year project, Development and evaluation of a microfluidic co-flow device to determine water quality, uses micro-fluidic devices, cell phones, and chemical indicators to test water quality.

Bick’s method accurately assesses the bacterial content of water and is reportedly both significantly faster and up to 200 times less expensive than standard testing procedures.

“This year's winning project reflects truly out of the box thinking to find a solution to an important real world problem that is relevant in both a developing and developed country context,” said the International Jury. “It is the result of a creative, multi-faceted, and long-term effort that was triggered by an actual problem in the local community. It has the potential to revolutionise our ability to monitor water quality in a way that is fast, accurate, more flexible and less expensive than existing technologies.”

Bick received US$3,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Stockholm to compete against national winners from 28 countries for the prize. The international award was US$5,000.

Bick will also present her research to thousands of water quality professionals at WEFTEC 2011 in Los Angeles, California, USA from 15-19 October.

The SJWP covers water-related research and was awarded during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.