March 1, 2012

IWMI group photo.jpg

IWMI staff - Colombo, Sri Lanka – taken November 2010

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been named the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for their pioneering research that has served to improve agriculture water management, enhance food security, protect environmental health and alleviate poverty in developing countries. This announcement was made on the UN World Water Day. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the prize at a Royal Award Ceremony during the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm on August 30.

Seventy percent of global freshwater withdrawals are used in agriculture. With global food demand projected to double by mid-century, more food will need to be grown with less water. IWMI has been the driving force promoting policies and techniques to help farmers to produce ‘more crop per drop’, and to implement solutions that enable agriculture to cultivate enough food to feed the planet’s growing population with limited water resources.

In its citation, The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee states: “The International Water Management Institute is the foremost organisation in agricultural water management. Their work has led to new policies and investments in agriculture that have not only enabled more productive use of water, but have enhanced food security, economic development and environmental health around the world.”

Over the past quarter century, IWMI has established its place as the definitive source for comprehensive data and knowledge on global water resources. From 2002-2007, IWMI led a team of 700 scientists to produce one of the most important research programs of water management ever conceived. The resulting publication, Water for Food, Water for Life: A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, established an unprecedented knowledge base on the status of global water and land resources, and is one of the most influential studies ever produced on water and agricultural policy. By providing clear evidence of where and how water scarcity has increased and its impact on all sectors of the economy, the report’s findings have placed sustainable water resource management as a priority issue for governments, industries and international organizations around the world.

On receiving the news, Dr. Colin Chartres, Director General of IWMI said:

“It is an incredible honour for our organisation… The real winners, of course, are IWMI’s dedicated staff members who, for just over a quarter of a century, have consistently delivered research of the highest quality. This work has had a profound influence on water management policy throughout the globe, delivering real benefits for some of the poorest people on earth.”

AAWRE Diplomate, Peter G. McCornick, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, the Assistant Director General & Director for Asia for IWMI stated:

“As you can imagine, this was quite an exciting World Water Day here in Colombo, and throughout our regional offices. It is an honour and a thrill for IWMI to be recognized with such a prestigious award, and a wonderful acknowledgement of the many professionals, both past and present, who continue to work, partner and support IWMI to deliver on our Mission of sustainably managing water and land resources to benefit the poor.

Given the nature of water resources management, partnerships are especially fundamental to IWMI’s work. Having our researchers hosted in countries within critical river basins across Africa and Asia, and developing close long-term collaborative arrangements with local researchers and decision makers, ensures the research is relevant to the context and the issues. At the same time, our linkages to Universities and other research organizations in the developed world, including colleagues within AAWRE and ASCE, provides the opportunity to share, test and apply the latest skills, tools and methodologies.

Hopefully this award also provides an important opportunity to highlight the water-related challenges and issues ahead. In addition to increasing demands for domestic and industrial water supply, the water requirements needed to support the encouraging increase in investments in food-security and agricultural initiatives in the developing world, calls for renewed efforts in research, policy reforms and water management improvements if the water resources are to be sustained.”