John Cherry is receiving the Stockholm Water Prize 2020 for discoveries that have revolutionized the understanding of groundwater vulnerability. His research has raised awareness of how groundwater contamination is growing across the world and has led to new, more efficient methods to tackle the problem.
Cherry is a leading authority on the threats to groundwater from contamination and the creator of the academic field of contaminant hydrogeology, which studies the leaching of chemicals and waste. A geological engineer by training, he pioneered highly collaborative field experiments and new systematic approaches to monitor, control and clean up contaminated groundwater. This provided keen insights into contaminant transport processes and made it easier to protect groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half the global population.
“I’m very pleased to receive the Stockholm Water Prize and to get this opportunity to speak about the importance of protecting groundwater,” said Cherry. “Though the global water crisis is starting to get more attention, groundwater is often forgotten, despite making up 99 per cent of the planet’s liquid freshwater. Many people still perceive it as pristine when in fact it is threatened by human activity.”
The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee released the following statement yesterday: “With the Stockholm Water Prize, John Cherry is recognized for his contributions to science, education, practice and for translating his well-earned stature into a passionate and highly effective advocacy for groundwater science to inform current and future policies, laws and collective deliberations that governments must establish to protect water, our most essential and yet most imperiled resource.”
“Dr. Cherry has made invaluable contributions to help us understand how we can protect the world’s threatened groundwater,” added Toorgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
Cherry is an adjunct professor at the University of Guelph and director at the University’s Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Research, and associate director of the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research.
The prestigious global prize is awarded by SIWI in cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and will be presented by Princess Victoria of Sweden, at a Royal Award Ceremony on August 26, 2020 during World Water Week in Stockholm.
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Featured image from the Stockholm International Water Institute.