A competition, named Water4Future Hackathon was organized by the UNESCO ICIREWARD and the MUSE Montpellier Université d’Excellence. One of the partners of the event was the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) and it was sponsored by several companies and organizations.

From the ELTE and the event was attended by Ádám Tóth PhD hydrogeologist and Hana Ben Mahrez PhD student (members of the ENeRAG project and the József and Erzsébet Hydrogeology Chair).

This competition is open to all whether a specialist in water sciences or not. The objective of the event was to create a team project, foster entrepreneurship, imagine new tools, and promote innovative solutions to preserve the environment and improve the quality of life. Teams, which were guided and supervised by international experts, have 36 hours to prepare their dedicated projects.

The 3rd edition of Water4Future Hackathon was held online on the 5th and 6th of March 2021, focusing on the topic “Water and city”.

The hydrological risks (ie: drought, flooding) which can be reinforced by climate change, impacts the conditions of urbanization. Therefore, water in the city is considered an important topic: improving water quality to meet the population’s needs, increase in the waterproofing of soils to protect against flooding risks, an adapted infrastructure for urban sanitation to limit health risks, etc. Water in the city presents many challenges for the societies of tomorrow, challenges that must be addressed to guarantee a sustainable future.

This year, the specific challenges were divided into four themes: “Water in urban space”, “Water and risks”, “Water and health” or “Water to be preserved”.

After the teams presented their projects, the international jury announced the results. The ‘Tree of life project’ won the 3rd prize, which is a special pleasure for us, as Hana Ben Mahrez was a key member in the development of this project.

Here we would like to introduce this prize-winning project to you.

The Tree of life project is elaborated by a group of 4 scientists (including Hana Ben Mahrez) from different backgrounds and coached by the experts (including Ádám Tóth) from CHARM-EU project.

The project consists of the creation of local infiltration basins allowing the infiltration of water, therefore storing water, improving its quality by infiltration process, and reducing the flooding risk. Inside of these basins, some Moringa grains will be added because studies have proven their effects on improving the water quality. Shrimps are also added into the system in order to consume the Moringa grains because after a while they can a bad smell as a side effect.

This project needs to be done in an area where certain criteria are present. In Yaoundé, Cameroon, there is huge demographic growth, lots of flood victims each year, children suffering from malnutrition and it is a perfect environment to plant Moringa trees. All the study of region was done, from places where water wells are drilled, to where to implement the basins, where to plant the trees, as well as the financial evaluation. The benefits of the project are environmental, economic, and social.

Study region and showing the location where to plant the trees and where to make the infiltration basins

The Modflow simulation shows that the pit upstream of the river should be able to mobilize water and pollutants upstream to allow processing by Moringa seeds.