The world-renowned hydrologist Andrea Rinaldo has been awarded the Stockholm Water Prize 2023 for his groundbreaking research on river networks. His research provided a new understanding of how rivers spread water pollution, invasive species, and waterborne diseases.
Andrea Rinaldo is a leading authority in hydrologic sciences. His pioneering research has led to new insights into the complex ways in which water shapes the Earth’s surface and ecosystems, including how substances in water move at varying speeds.
“To address water pollution and water contamination, it is essential to understand how solutes and pathogens move through the landscape,” Rinaldo says. “To protect biodiversity, it is crucial to stem invasive species, which requires knowledge about how they travel and settle.”
Rinaldo’s research has been key in developing policies and practices that improve the preservation of species. His models for water’s role in disease transmission have been applied to real-world hotspots of diseases, such as cholera and schistosomiasis in Haiti, South Sudan, and Burkina Faso, linking fundamental research to real-life application.
The Stockholm Water Prize, often described as the Nobel Prize of water, is awarded by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
“Andrea Rinaldo has significantly advanced our understanding of the complex interactions between the hydrologic cycle, ecological processes, and landscape evolution," says SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren commented: His models have provided us with invaluable tools to preserve and protect life through informed policies and practices.”
Rinaldo is a professor of hydrology and water resources at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and at the University of Padova. During his career, Rinaldo has co-authored more than 320 peer-reviewed articles for the most prestigious academic journals in hydrology, ecology, and physics, as well as interdisciplinary journals such as Science and Nature.
He has a strong interest in social distributive justice and ecosystem services, which refers to the ways healthy ecosystems benefit humans.
“We now have a much better understanding of water resources, like rivers, and can evaluate costs and benefits of development but also of ecosystem services,” Rinaldo says. “That should challenge our thinking. At the same time, we have the highest levels of inequality ever, and that should also lead to a discussion about distribution.”
Xylem’s role in the Stockholm Water Prize
As part of our commitment to solving water and advancing sustainability, Xylem is a proud partner of SIWI and one of the founders of the Stockholm Water Prize. Xylem is also the founding global sponsor of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, and our Xylem Ignite program helps the next generation of STEM professionals develop innovative solutions to water challenges.
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2023 Stockholm Water Prize winner: 5 questions to Andrea Rinaldo
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Photo: Fred Merz