World-renowned hydrogeologist, Dr. John Cherry, is awarded the Stockholm Water Prize 2020

Dr. John Cherry wins the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize in 2020 (photo: Stockholm International Water Institute [SIWI]).

On World Water Day 2020, Dr. John Cherry was named the 2020 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for having revolutionized our understanding of groundwater and vulnerability of the resource. His research has raised awareness of how groundwater contamination is growing across the world and has led to new, more efficient methods to tackle the problem. The Stockholm Water Prize is an international water award presented annually since 1991 by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

Being a hydrogeologist by training, Dr. Cherry has dedicated his professional career to groundwater. He is probably best known for his classic textbook on Groundwater, co-authored with Dr. R. Allan Freeze, which was published in 1979. The publication was made open access in 2016 to increase its application in formal education and training. He has significantly helped shape the field of contaminant hydrogeology, which is becoming increasingly important as groundwater is stressed as a result of improper land use and waste disposal, and lack of attention to protecting the resource. Dr. Cherry has published over 210 peer-reviewed publications and been cited over 35,000 times.

“Thanks to Dr. Cherry’s research, we can now better monitor, control and clean up contaminated water,” said Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, SIWI.

Dr. Cherry is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Guelph, Canada, Director at the University’s Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Research, Associate Director of the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research, and a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at University of Waterloo. In his interview with SIWI, Dr. Cherry highlighted: “I hope that this prize will draw attention to our often forgotten fresh groundwater resources. I hope it will also stimulate more monitoring, and better management and protection of groundwater, so that the resource can fulfil its intended role on this planet – sustaining humanity and ecological systems.”

Building on his extensive experience and network, Dr. Cherry is presently leading a global Groundwater Project to significantly expand the dissemination of technical knowledge on the resource to new and early career professionals in the field of water. The project builds on the original textbook, and involves several leading groundwater scientists to update, expand and ensure the material is freely available online in different languages.

SIWI highly commended Dr. Cherry on his professional achievements and contributions over a long time span. Dr. Line Gordon, Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre, stated: ‘’….It (groundwater) almost acts as a conveyer belt for transporting resources from places we do not know about.” Similarly, Dr. Cherry has facilitated a wealth of scientific knowledge and practice on groundwater and contaminant hydrogeology. We are looking forward to the conveyor belt effect of bringing this information across the globe.

Dr. John Cherry investigating groundwater flow and transport processes in the laboratory (photo: SIWI).

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