dws-wetskills-iran-winning-team-770pxThe winning team of the first Wetskills challenge in Iran made a plan for the return on the flamingo to Lake Urmia in northwest Iran. The salt water lake is shrinking rapidly, resulting in soil challenges for the surrounding agriculture.

By using the return of the flamingo as a symbolic goal, the team managed to create a positive attitude in dealing with climate change.

The award was handed out by Dutch minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment on 24 October. The Dutch minister headed a trade mission to Iran on port development and water management.

The event was hosted by the Sharif University of Technology and the Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.

dws-wetskills-iran-brainstorm-350px Joint Iranian-Dutch Brainstorm session with the case owner.

Out-of-the-box ideas
The first Iranian Wetskills Challenge took place in Teheran from 15 to 25 October, involving 25 Iranian and Dutch students who formed five teams. Each team was challenged to come up with an out-of-the-box idea to solve an actual water related case, posed by Iranian and Dutch case owners.

Following two weeks of hard work, cooperation and fun, the five Wetskills teams presented their pitches and posters, with a wide variety of ideas ranging from an adaptive lifestyle for Rafsajan pistachio farmers to integrating sensor technology, to create awareness by installing a large flamingo in Lake Urmia, reacting to water level, to entice inhabitants to a race to fill up the lake.

dws-wetskills-iran-lake-urmiaReal case of the shrinking salt lake Urmia causing problems to local farmers because of salt dispersion.

Real water-related cases
The five real water-related cases included:
● implementation of a (waste)water treatment with UV-light (case owner: Berson UV)
● addressing water scarcity in Rafsanjan Township, an area of Iran where pistachio nuts are grown (case owner: ITC-University of Twente)
●preventing salt dispersion from the shrinking salt water lake Urmia and introduce an alternative livelihood for local farmers (case owner: Lake Urmia Restoration Programme)
● water-efficiency for irrigation in the Hashtgerd plain (case owner: Dutch regional water authority De Dommel)
● cleaning the sediments of Anzali Port (case owner: Van Oord)

Iran-Dutch collaboration
“Iran has many water related challenges that are becoming very urgent”, said Sara Mehryar, an Iranian PhD, currently working at the ITC-University of Twente.

Mehryar participated in the Wetskills Challenge as one of the case owners. Meyhryar: “With 85 million people, of which 12 million living in Tehran, we really need good solutions. Wetskills is a great initiative and it’s an opportunity for both Dutch and Iranian water professionals.”

dws-wetskills-iran-logo3-250pxAbout Wetskills
The Wetskills Water Challenge is a two-weeks pressure-cooker program for students and young professionals with a passion for water. In transdisciplinary and transcultural teams they are challenged to develop an innovative and out-of-the-box solution for a real life and local case.

Worldwide 21 Wetskills events have been organized. More than 400 participants and 100 universities and organizations were involved, in 16 different countries.

Upcoming Wetskills challenges in 2017 are in India (January) and United Kingdom (April).

This news item is based on a press release published on the website of Wetskills.

Top: winning team with Madhi Taraghi, Narges Dowlatabadi and Samanek Ghafoori from Iran and Lexy Ratering Arntz, Marijke Panis from the Netherlands.
Bottom: all participants.

Read also on this website
Dutch delegation in Iran on water and ports trade mission, 25 October 2016
Wetskills water challenge comes back to the Netherlands for third time, 24 October 2015
WISA2014: Concept of business wise training wins second Wetskills Water Challenge in South Africa, 30 May 2014

More information
Wetskills Foundation
The Hague, the Netherlands

Video impression of Wetskills Iran 2016.