Organization specializes in research on global water resources and agricultural water management
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been named the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for its 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 World Water Day. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the prize at a Royal Award Ceremony during the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm on Aug. 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.
“It is an incredible honor for our organization,” said Dr. Colin Chartres, director general of IWMI. “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.”
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 to 2007, IWMI led a team of 700 scientists to produce one of the most important research programs in water management. 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.
IWMI’s Water Data Portal, and its global maps on water scarcity, irrigation use, environmental flows, and drought patterns, are among the most important information source in the water science arena. More than 100,000 publications are downloaded from the IWMI website every month, and are widely read on leading digital repositories worldwide.
This work has also led to the creation of a water accounting system that can determine the amount of potentially usable water in a basin, assess where the water is going and calculate the actual cost per cubic meter. The tool is widely used by planners to identify where water can be saved, and how it can be used most effectively.