2008 IWA Awards announced for outstanding achievements in water sector

For the first time, two individuals have been honored with the IWA Grand Award for their contributions to the water sector. Professor Mark van Loosdrecht is a globally recognized pioneer of new techniques that synthesize environmental biotechnology and good engineering practice. Dr. Jim Gill is CEO of the Water Corporation of Western Australia, which has been faced with serious challenges in the provision of water services due to climate change...

• Grand Awards go to both Dr. Jim Gill for mastering the implications of climate change in Australia and Professor Mark van Loosdrecht for pioneering new wastewater treatment techniques

LONDON, Aug. 19, 2008 -- For the first time, two individuals have been honored with the IWA Grand Award for their contributions to the water sector.

Professor Mark van Loosdrecht is a globally recognized pioneer of new techniques that synthesize environmental biotechnology and good engineering practice. From his base at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, he has been instrumental in developing wastewater treatment, biofilm processes, nutrient removal and the production of chemicals by open microbial cultures. These techniques have contributed worldwide to major improvements in the effectiveness and energy efficiency of water treatment.

Dr. Jim Gill is CEO of the Water Corporation of Western Australia, which has been faced with serious challenges in the provision of water services due to climate change. At a time when many had not yet recognized the serious implications of climate change for water supply, Dr. Gill and his team were literally saving Perth and other areas of Western Australia from running out of water. "Security through Diversity' was the key, leading to a portfolio of new climate-independent solutions that complemented the simultaneous improvement of existing dam and groundwater sources. These included renewable-energy driven desalination, water recycling and injection into the aquifer, as well as water trading with irrigation cooperatives through improved irrigation efficiency. Accompanying these developments was a widespread public awareness campaign to alert people to the issue which secured water savings in the magnitude of 45 gigaliters per year.

Dr. David Garman, IWA's President and Chairperson of the Award Committee, stated "these two individuals have demonstrated outstanding excellence and leadership in science, technology, and water management. Their achievements have been recognized internationally throughout the membership of IWA. They have led their fields with vision, applied the best expertise the world has to offer and shown extraordinary persistence, often in the face of great adversity, to create new directions and open new fields. They are worthy dual winners of the Grand Award this year."

The awards will be presented during the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition from 7th-11th September in Vienna, Austria. For more information, see: www.iwa2008vienna.org

The International Water Association's core purpose is to unite water professionals in achieving sustainable water management on a local, national and international level.

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