Mar 23, 2020

Stockholm Water Prize 2020 to groundwater expert Dr John Cherry

Dr John Cherry is awarded the Stockholm Water Prize 2020 for research that has raised awareness of the growing threats against the world’s groundwater. He has established a new field of research which has led to a better understanding of groundwater contamination, as well as more efficient methods to tackle the problem.

Dr John Cherry is a world-renowned hydrogeologist and a leading authority on the threats to groundwater from contamination. He has pioneered an entirely new branch of theoretical and practical science related to the understanding of how groundwater contaminants occur and move within the natural environment. This academic field, contaminant hydrogeology, has revolutionized the scientific understanding of groundwater vulnerability.

Thanks to Dr Cherry’s research, which is characterized by innovative field experiments, collaboration and new systematic approaches, it has been possible to develop more efficient methods to monitor, control and clean up contaminated groundwater.

Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI, presented the winner on Monday 23 March at an event that was livestreamed from Stockholm. “Dr Cherry has dedicated his professional life to one of the most important but also most overlooked water issues, namely groundwater,” Holmgren said, adding: “We are very grateful for his invaluable contributions in helping us understand how we can protect the world’s groundwater from the threats it faces.”

In its citation, the Stockholm International 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 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.”

In a comment, Dr John 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.”

Dr Cherry is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Guelph, Canada, Director at the University’s Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Research and Associate Director of the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research. He is also a Distinguished Emeritus Professor, University of Waterloo.

Dr Cherry has published over 210 peer-reviewed publications and been cited over 35,000 times. Most recently, he has initiated the innovative Groundwater Project, where leading groundwater scientists from around the world collaborate to make their texts available free of charge for anyone to use. The project will be launched in August 2020.

Read more Dr Cherry’s work here and here.

You can follow how the Groundwater Project evolves here.