28 Mar 2017

Aqua Republica bags Enterprise Award in Hack4Water challenge

South Africa is experiencing extreme drought, with five out of nine provinces declared as disaster areas.

To find a solution to the country’s water and sanitation challenges, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), in partnership with the Open Government Partnership South Africa (OGPSA), launched a #Hack4Water challenge.

The organisers invited entries of water hacks – ideas, solutions, commercial products, community initiatives, apps or online tools, for instance – that could help South Africa tackle its water problems. The contest attracted over 100 entries in total.

Andrew Pott, Business Development Director of DHI South Africa, submitted the concept of Aqua Republic and emerged the winner in the Enterprise Category. The prize-giving ceremony was opened by South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, and was attended by high level representatives of the World Bank, African Development Bank, the United Nations and UNESCO.

Andrew Pott, Business Development Director of DHI South Africa receiving his award with winners of other categories. © DWS

About Aqua Republica 
Aqua Republica is a serious game developed by DHI, UNEP-DHI and UN Environment that focuses on promoting sustainable water resources management. Aqua Republica creates a stimulating learning environment for players to assess different potential solutions to the linked water-energy-food challenges faced by stakeholders in catchments. The game can be customised according to local conditions. The game is excellent at highlighting the linkages between water, energy and food, and that a holistic approach is required to find the balance between development and conservation.

Finding out the perceptions of South African youths towards water issues

Knowing how the youth feel about water is important as they’re the ones who will solve these challenges in time to come. In Andrew’s submission, a questionnaire to elicit responses was embedded within the Aqua Republica serious game, in place of conventional survey methods like email/telephone/face-to-face interviews. 
The game also served to educate and inform the participants about water and the growing water challenges many catchments in South Africa face. Watch a short interview of Andrew here: