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Hydrologist Taikan Oki becomes 2024 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate

  • Hydrologist Taikan Oki becomes 2024 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate
    Professor Taikan Oki.
    Credit: SIWI
  • Based on his world-renowned research on the virtual water trade, digital river mapping, and inclusion of human activity in the water cycle – Taikan Oki wins the Stockholm Water Prize 2024. 

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SIWI
SIWI is a leading expert in water governance. We are also a curator of change, championing water solutions for a just, prosperous, and sustainable future.

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On 22 March, the Stockholm Water Prize Laureate was announced as Professor Taikan Oki.

Professor Oki is a world-renowned researcher in hydrology. His work has contributed to more sustainable management of water on a global scale, through more realistic and practical climate adaptation measures, the inclusion of human activity in the water cycle, and a more accurate depiction of the world’s river flows. He was instrumental in developing a global river routing model for climate applications and global water resource assessment (the Total Runoff Integrating Pathways – TRIP system) currently used worldwide.  He was also the first to accurately measure the value of virtual water. His research led to a better understanding of food importation and its impact on the virtual water trade and water scarcity.

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee states: “Professor Taikan Oki’s work has greatly advanced our understanding of the nexus among hydrology, climate change and sustainability. Through numerical modelling of complex systems, he has demonstrated exceptional scholarship that provides important insights into how humans alter water, climate, and the biosphere. His major scientific contributions have shed light on ‘total water storage’ as a critical variable in water management and climate change. Professor Oki is selected for the award for his outstanding contributions to global water balance studies, global virtual water flows, and the spatial and temporal variability of annually renewable water.”

Professor Oki is a world-renowned researcher in hydrology. His work has contributed to more sustainable management of water on a global scale, through more realistic and practical climate adaptation measures

On becoming the 2024 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Professor Oki says: “I feel really moved and lucky to have won this award. I never thought that I could have gotten the prize myself. After getting this prize, I am eager to foster the younger generation and continue to contribute to the international academic community on hydrology. I also feel I must further contribute to solving the world’s water issues through research, like previous Laureates.”

Taikan Oki is a professor at the University of Tokyo in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Graduate School of Engineering in Japan. A man of many talents, Oki has also held the titles of the Special Advisor to the President at the University of Tokyo, the Senior Vice Rector for the United Nations University, and the Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations, alongside his professorship at the University of Tokyo. In 1995, Oki and his wife (also a scientist) spent two years at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA as visiting scientists. They have two children.

Professor Oki says that he has been inspired in his work by many other Stockholm Water Prize Laureates, among them Professor Antony Allan, also credited for seminal work on the concept of virtual water. Additionally, he names Stockholm International Water Institute’s late senior advisor, Professor Malin Falkenmark, as a great inspiration to him.

The Stockholm Water Prize is awarded by the Stockholm Water Foundation in cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Prize will be presented to the Laureate Professor Oki by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, official patron of the Prize, on 28 August during World Water Week in Stockholm. Founding partners of Stockholm Water Prize are Ålandsbanken, Bacardi, PDJ Foundation, WEF, and Xylem.

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