This is a community grassroots initiative catalysed by the Future Water Institute, University of Cape Town, aimed at developing and using cheap, safe, user-friendly and robust tools for water quality analysis.
These tools are used:
- To test water quality of alternative water resources,
- For education, and
- In-the-field analysis for scientific research – frugal science.
Further, these tools help build a contextual understanding of how our actions and our environment impact water quality, building risk awareness into society.
- Tastes and odours
- pH and alkalinity
- Total dissolved solids
- Toxic inorganics
- Iron and Manganese
How does the challenge work?
- Electronic: Sensors, Probes, ‘hacking’ – monitoring with e.g. Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s, hacking, fixing, making new from old equipment. This includes smart probes: Online or sim-enabled remote probes that can sample/measure dissolved oxygen, pH, electrical conductivity, total disssolved solids, salinity and voltage (if it runs on battery/solar power)
- Biosensors: Using biology to give a qualitative or quantitative signal, including the miniSASS, microbial cell counts, enzyme based processes etc
- Green chemistry kits: aquarium kits, swimming pool tests, make your own kits, dedicated kits like the EarthEcho kit etc
And a special category
- Photography: With special interest in the microscopic, using e.g. USB microscopes, the Foldscope – not just for analysis; also for pretty.
The specific challenges will have their own specific criteria, but overall the submissions will also be judged according to the following criteria:
- Robustness – how finicky is the solution? Do you need a working knowledge of black magic to keep it working?
- Repeatability – if we do the exact same thing three times, will we get the same answer?
- Range of operation – what concentration ranges (for example) does this solution work well in, is this a useful range?
- … probably more to come
Producing bioproducts from waste, often means using sugars, or converting the waste into sugars and producing he bioproducts from that. Measuring sugars are difficult, often involving hazardous chemicals (see the DNS method) or expensive equipment like HPLCs. Can we do it better?
Metal ions, e.g. iron (Fe)
Groundwater and acid mine drainage are often contaminated with metals. We need to know what is in there to work with the water.
Do you have analysis challenges that need innovation? Let us know!
How to enter
Submit your entry by emailing hi@AquaSavvy.co.za with Analysis Competition, and which Category you are addressing in the subject line
Prizes and contributing
Prizes will consist of in-kind offerings by relevant companies, like analysis, instrumentation, electronics, educational toys and gadgets. If you are such a company or want to contribute in any way…