News.Jul 02, 2020

Groundwater expert, Dr John Cherry, wins 2020 Stockholm Water Prize

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Dr John Cherry is a leading authority on the threats to groundwater from contamination and the creator of the academic field contaminant hydrogeology, which studies the leaching of chemicals and waste. A geological engineer by training, he pioneered highly collaDr John Cherry is a world-renowned hydrogeologist and a leading authority on the threats to groundwater from contamination. As the creator of the academic field contaminant hydrogeology, he has changed the scientific paradigms of groundwater research.

Contaminant hydrogeology studies how chemicals and waste leaches into the groundwater. A geological engineer by training, Dr Cherry has pioneered highly collaborative field experiments and new systematic approaches to monitor, control and clean up contaminated groundwater. This has 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.borative 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.

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 groundwater. 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 joint statement resulted from a SIWI Shared Waters Partnership convened workshop.

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 imperilled resource.

Stockholm International Water Prize Nominating Committee

Dr Cherry’s work has had enormous influence. Through the innovative Borden Groundwater Field Research Facility, which he established already in the 1980s, many important scientific discoveries have been made by researchers from different parts of the world. Dr Cherry’s approaches to groundwater monitoring have also been used in many countries, including Canada, Brazil and the United States.

Many students have had their understanding of groundwater shaped by the textbook Groundwater, which John Cherry co-authored together with Alan Freeze in 1979. Making groundwater knowledge available to students and practitioners around the world has always been close to his heart and most recently this has resulted in the innovative Groundwater Project. In response to recurring requests for him to update the textbook, Dr Cherry started collaborating with other leading groundwater scientists around the world to make their texts available free of charge for anyone to use. The project will be launched in August 2020.

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