NEW YORK—Mar. 22, 2021— The 9th Awards Ceremony of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) was held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, on Monday, 22 March 2021.
The event was held in conjunction with the “High-Level Meeting of the Water-Related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda” which was held virtually at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN co-organised the event, which was also co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand and Yemen.
H.E. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
He was followed by His Excellency Mr. Volkan Bozkır, President of the United Nations General Assembly, who, a few moments before the PSIPW ceremony, had successful concluded the High-Level Meeting on the “Implementation of the Water-Related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda”.
Then, the ceremony was honoured by the participation of His Excellency UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the role of PSIPW in promoting innovation on water research, saying “Solutions are desperately needed, as billions of people worldwide are still living without safely-managed drinking water and sanitation.”
King Salman Bin Abdulaziz was represented at the ceremony by H.E. Eng. Abdulrahman A. Al Fadley, Saudi Minster of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
PSIPW Council Chairman, Dr Badran al-Omar, spoke on behalf of the prize as an organization. He stressed the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship that PSIPW has withthe United Nations and particularly with UNOOSA.
PSIPW General Secretary Dr. Abdulmalek A. Al Ashaikh the introduced the seven prizewinners who were honoured at the event for their innovative work at the forefront of water research for the benefit of humanity.
THE 9th AWARD WINNERS
The Creativity Prize, which is awarded to research teams for water-related interdisciplinary work, was shared by two winning teams:
Creativity Prize: The team of Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao (Stony Brook University, New York, USA) which includes Dr. Priyanka Sharma.
Dr. Hsiao’s team has developed adsorbents, coagulants and membrane materials from sustainable, biomass-sourced nanocellulose fibres along with numerous practical applications that promise to provide effective water purification for off-grid communities of the developing world.
Creativity Prize: The team of Dr. Sherif El-Safty (National Institute for Materials Science, Japan)
Dr. El-Safty’s team has developed novel nano-materials that quantitatively detects and selectively removes a wide range of water contaminants in a single step.
The winners of the four dedicated water specialist innovation prizes are as follows:
Surface Water Prize: Dr. Zbigniew Kundzewicz (Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan)
The work of Dr. Kundzewicz advances our understanding of the relationship between flood risk, river flow, and climate change to develop a diversified portfolio of flood-risk management approaches that work together for maximum net effect.
Groundwater Prize: Dr. J. Jaime Gómez-Hernández (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain)
Dr. Gómez-Hernández’ work involves solving the inverse problem in hydrogeology (the process of calculating the causal factors that produce a set of observations). A reliable depiction of groundwater ﬂow and mass transport in the subsurface is nearly impossible to predict at unsampled locations due to extreme variability. His ‘self-calibrating method’ using pilot points for the stochastic inversion of natural heterogeneity, which yields not only an estimate of the parameters, but also an estimate about their uncertainty.
Alternative Water Resources Prize: Dr. Peng Wang (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia)
Dr. Wang’s work is at the forefront of solar-evaporation water production technology. It involves solar-energy driven fresh-water generation using environmental nanotechnology, solar desalination, zero liquid discharge desalination, and atmospheric water harvesting.
Water Management and Protection Prize: Dr. Jay R. Lund (University of California Davis, USA)
Dr. Lund developed the CALVIN water supply optimization model, a tool for the integrated analysis of regional water supply systems that couples traditional water supply criteria with economic considerations. It also demonstrates how game theory, through the creative use of non-cooperative games, can be harnessed to develop more effective water management policies by identifying the externalities and evolutionary pathways of dynamic water resource problems.
The concluding remarks were given by Ms. Simonetta di Pippo of UNOOSA, who discussed the relationship between PSIPW and UNOOSA that extends over a dozen years, and the need to employ scientific innovation in space-based technologies to manage the freshwater resources of our world for the benefit of all humanity.