NGWA member recognized with 2020 Stockholm Water Prize

March 24, 2020

John CherryLongtime NGWA member John Cherry, Ph.D., is being recognized with the world’s most prestigious water award, the Stockholm Water Prize, in 2020.

It was announced on March 23 Cherry is being awarded for discoveries that have revolutionized the understanding of groundwater vulnerability, raised awareness of how groundwater contamination is growing across the world, and led to new, more efficient methods to tackle the problem.

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.

“I’m very pleased to receive the Stockholm Water Prize and to get this opportunity to speak about the importance of protecting groundwater,” Cherry said. “Though the global water crisis is starting to get more attention, groundwater is often forgotten, despite making up 99 percent of the planet’s liquid freshwater. Many people still perceive it as pristine when in fact it is threatened by human activity.”

A geological engineer by training, Cherry has pioneered highly collaborative field experiments and new systematic approaches to monitor, control, and clean up contaminated groundwater. Many students have had their understanding of groundwater shaped by the textbook Groundwater, which Cherry coauthored 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, 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.

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 at University of Waterloo.

Cherry received NGWA’s Life Member Award in 1998 and also the Association’s M. King Hubbert Award in 1987, the latter of which is presented to a person who has made a major science or engineering contribution to the groundwater industry through research, technical papers, teaching, and practical applications. He was also the Association’s first Darcy Lecturer in 1987, speaking on “Contaminant Migration Processes: A Field Perspective.”

Click here to read more about Cherry winning the award.