Dr. Jackie King received the 2019 Stockholm Water Prize on August 28, 2019 for her contributions to global river management.
King has advanced the scientific understanding of water flows, giving decision-makers methods and tools to assess the full range of costs and benefits when managing or developing river systems.
The prize was presented to her by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a Royal Award Ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden praised King’s groundbreaking research on river ecosystems and the social structures depending on healthy rivers, adding that “this is an important contribution to one of the great global water challenges of our time.”
On receiving the Stockholm Water Prize, 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.”
King led the early development of the methods as a researcher at the University of Cape Town, funded by South Africa’s Water Research Commission. Later, she and colleagues Dr. Cate Brown and Dr. Alison Joubert created ecosystem models to demonstrate the ecological and social implications of damming and dewatering rivers. This has enabled objective assessment of the costs of water-resource developments that could emerge linked to benefits such as hydropower and irrigated crops.
Her commitment to raising awareness of the value of rivers and their importance for millions of people has made King highly regarded by academics and water managers globally. In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee notes 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. King’s research has provided tools for decision-makers to enable them to consider the benefits and costs around the management of river systems,” said Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute. “Thanks to this new level of detail, governments can now make more informed choices on how they proceed with developing their water resources.”