Dr Jackie King received the 2019 Stockholm Water Prize on Wednesday for her pioneering research on water flows. Her work has led to a new kind of tools to help decision-makers assess actual costs and benefits of alterations to rivers. The prize was presented to Dr King by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Patron of Stockholm Water Prize, at a Royal Award Ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm.
When congratulating the laureate, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, praised Dr King’s ground-breaking research on river ecosystems and the social structures depending on healthy rivers, adding: “This is an important contribution to one of the great global water challenges of our time.”
On receiving the Prize, Dr King commented that “The award shines a light on African rivers and African science and through me recognizes all African scientists. They stand by me tonight as none of us works alone.”
In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee noted that “Dr Jacqueline King has, through scientific rigour, selfless dedication and effective advocacy, transformed the way we think, talk and work with water as a flow of and for life.”
Dr Jackie King is an aquatic ecologist who co-founded the Freshwater Research Unit at the University of Cape Town where she was active for almost four decades. She became influential in the recently established field of Environmental Flows, initially focusing on South African rivers. Later she has worked as a researcher and consultant in more than 20 countries and with governments of the Mekong, Zambezi, Indus and Okavango River Basins, among others. In addition to her consultancy work, Jackie King is Extraordinary Professor at the Institute for Water Studies, University of the Western Cape.
Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI, emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between science and policy: “Dr King’s research has provided tools for decision-makers to enable them to consider the benefits and costs around the management of river systems. Thanks to this new level of detail, governments can now make more informed choices on how they proceed with developing their water resources,” Mr Holmgren said.