Dr. John Cherry, winner of the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize in 2020, working in the field to elucidate the fate of groundwater pollutants (photo: G360 Institute for Groundwater Research, University of Guelph, Canada).
Groundwater is increasingly gaining the attention of stakeholders and decision-makers at all levels. This is because of the major social and economic benefits accrued from groundwater and its exploitation in urban and rural areas, or because we are approaching tipping points of resource depletion and degradation due to the under-appreciation, undervaluing and under-management of the resource. It is becoming clear that partnerships are key to developing the mass and momentum, and joint commitment required for better approaches to sustainably managing groundwater.
Building on this recognition, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has expressed strong interest in supporting global efforts to sustainably manage groundwater, most recently and specifically through its 2020 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Dr. John Cherry, and now through joining forces as a member of the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP), a global partnership for sustainable groundwater management.
Dr. John Cherry received the award on World Water Day 2020 for having revolutionized our understanding of groundwater, its vulnerability to contamination, and how to protect this precious resource. His research has raised awareness of how groundwater contamination is increasing across the world and has led to new, more efficient methods to tackle the problem. The Stockholm Water Prize is an international water award that has been presented annually by SIWI since 1991. The latest edition of the Stockholm Water Front Magazine is dedicated to Dr. Cherry’s work and vision for sharing applicable and targeted groundwater knowledge across the world to diverse users.
UN-Water announced that the theme for World Water Day in 2022 will be ‘Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible’ and there are plans for an associated Groundwater Summit to be held conjunctively. With these prospects, SIWI is planning for World Water Week (WWW) in 2022, with groundwater forming an explicit part of its overarching theme.
Furthermore, the intention is to collaborate and co-identify management and governance solutions to the issues we are facing around groundwater today. This is done through new dedicated programs related to groundwater in the developing world, and through engagement with GRIPP partners and a wide range of global, national and local stakeholders, including providing support to the Pan-African Groundwater Program (APAGroP) of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).
We are very pleased and honored to welcome SIWI to the GRIPP family, and look forward to further convening and developing the necessary high-level attention to groundwater in the years to come.