Pioneer in Groundwater Contamination Research Wins 2016 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize


Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, presenting the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize to Prof Cherry on July 11, 2016 during the Singapore International Water Week (Photo credit: Ministry of Communications and Information)

Canadian hydrogeologist Professor Emeritus John Anthony Cherry, of the Department of Earth and Environment Sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada was awarded the 2016 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize for his pioneering research in groundwater science, policies and technologies. The award, which is sponsored by the Singapore Millennium Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organisation funded by Temasek Trust – the philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings – is named after Singapore’s first Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and has been awarded since 2008.

The Water Prize recognises individuals or organisations that have contributed towards solving global water challenges by developing or applying innovative technologies, policies or programmes that have benefitted humanity. Prof Cherry’s work has impacted the development of technologies and clean up processes in countries that face groundwater contamination such as the United States, Brazil and China. In fact, one of the most important insights unearthed by Prof Cherry has helped set the benchmark criteria used in the disposal of hazardous industrial and nuclear waste around the world.

There were 98 nominations for this year’s award – double the number for the 2014 prize – and the winner received a cash prize of S$300,000. The Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, presented the Water Prize to Prof Cherry at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet held at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore on July 11, 2016 during the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW).

greeen bar


About the SIWW
The Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) is a global platform to share and co-create innovative water solutions. Comprising the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, Water Leaders Summit, Water Convention, Business Forums, Industrial Water Solutions Forum, Water Expo, TechXchange, Young Water Leaders Summit and HydroPreneur Programme, it delivers a range of flagship programmes and platforms that bring together the global value chain of water to share the latest in business and technological innovations, as well as policy developments in water. The 7th SIWW was held from 10th-14th July 2016, co-located with the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore. For more information, please visit

Did you know…

Groundwater, which can be found in spaces between soil particles and fractured rock underground, makes up about 95% of the planet’s usable freshwater. Today, over 70,000 different water contaminants have been identified and each day almost 10,000 children under the age of five in third world countries die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water. (Source: UNICEF)