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Ground water expert John Cherry wins 2020 Stockholm Water Prize

March 24, 2020  By Ground Water Canada

Stockholm – Canadian ground water expert John Cherry has received the Stockholm Water Prize 2020 for discoveries that have revolutionized our understanding of ground water vulnerability.

Dr. Cherry’s research has raised awareness of how ground water contamination is growing across the world and has led to new, more efficient methods to tackle the problem. He is a leading authority on the threats to ground water from contamination and the creator of the academic field contaminant hydrogeology, which studies the leaching of chemicals and waste, said a news release from the Stockholm International Water Institute. A geological engineer by training, he pioneered highly collaborative field experiments and new systematic approaches to monitor, control and clean up contaminated ground water. This provided keen insights into contaminant transport processes and made it easier to protect ground water, the source of drinking water for nearly half the global population.

On receiving news of the prize, Dr. Cherry said: “I’m very pleased to receive the Stockholm Water Prize and to get this opportunity to speak about the importance of protecting ground water. Though the global water crisis is starting to get more attention, ground water 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.”


In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee said: “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 ground water science to inform current and future policies, laws and collective deliberations that governments must establish to protect water, our most essential and yet most imperilled resource.”

“Dr. Cherry has made invaluable contributions to help us understand how we can protect the world’s threatened ground water,” said the Stockholm International Water Institute’s executive director Torgny Holmgren.

Cherry is an adjunct professor at the University of Guelph, Director at the University’s Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Research, and associate director of the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research.

The prize is awarded by SIWI in co-operation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and will be presented by H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at a Royal Award Ceremony on Aug. 26, during World Water Week in Stockholm.

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