PROJECT: STOCKHOLM WATER PRIZE2024: Professor Taikan Oki, Japan

Based on his world-renowned research on the virtual water trade, digital river mapping, and inclusion of human activity in the water cycle – Professor Taikan Oki wins the Stockholm Water Prize 2024.

Prof Oki, University of Japan
From: UTokyo

Professor Oki is a world-renowned researcher in hydrology. His work has contributed to more sustainable management of water on a global scale, through more realistic and practical climate adaptation measures, the inclusion of human activity in the water cycle, and a more accurate depiction of the world’s river flows. He was instrumental in developing a global river routing model for climate applications and global water resource assessment (the Total Runoff Integrating Pathways – TRIP system) currently used worldwide. His work facilitated the efforts of the international community toward sustainable management of water.

Prof. Oki developed a fundamental framework simulating the global water cycle with a land surface and a hydrological river routing models. This work has become a new standard for quantitative estimates of hydrologic cycles on earth.

In the 2010s, his continued research led to the development of realistic global terrestrial water cycle simulations, global water supply and demand assessments, and climate change impact assessments.

In his work, Prof. Oki envisioned the future development of hydrology by emphasizing linkages between scientific aspects of hydrology and water policy, social issues, and interdisciplinary research.

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee states:

Professor Taikan Oki’s work has greatly advanced our understanding of the nexus among hydrology, climate change and sustainability. (He) is selected for the award for his outstanding contributions to global water balance studies, global virtual water flows, and the spatial and temporal variability of annually renewable water.

Taikan Oki is a professor at the University of Tokyo in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Graduate School of Engineering in Japan. A man of many talents, Oki has also held the titles of the Special Advisor to the President at the University of Tokyo, the Senior Vice Rector for the United Nations University, and the Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations, alongside his professorship at the University of Tokyo. In 1995, Oki and his wife (also a scientist) spent two years at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA as visiting scientists. They have two children.

Watch the announcement video