World Water Week, a leading global conference on water, is now cancelled due to the global spread of COVID-19, organizers announced.
World Water Week assembles over 500 co-convening organizations and 4,000 participants from more than 130 countries in Stockholm every year. The conference, which typically involves hundreds of sessions, was due to take place August 23-28, but organizers stated that the event would pose a critical threat to the health of visitors and result in an unacceptable risk of spreading COVID-19.
“We believe that an early decision is better than a wait-and-see-approach – for everyone,” announced Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute, in a statement.
The world’s most prestigious water award, the Stockholm Water Prize, was already announced during a royal prize ceremony. The 2020 award went to world-renowned hydrogeologist Dr. John Cherry for discoveries that have revolutionized understanding of groundwater vulnerability. Thanks to his research, it has been possible to develop more efficient methods to monitor, control and clean up contaminated groundwater.
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“Though the global water crisis is starting to get more attention, groundwater is often forgotten, despite making up 99% of the planet’s liquid freshwater,” Dr. Cherry said in a statement. “Many people still perceive it as pristine, when in fact it is threatened by human activity,” he added.
Conference organizers are already exploring how Dr. Cherry will be celebrated at World Water Week 2021. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Guelph, director at the University’s Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Research, and associate director of the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research. He is also a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Waterloo.
“We truly appreciate the support and commitment from our community towards World Water Week 2020 and this year’s theme ‘Water and Climate change: Accelerating Action’,” announced Gabriela Suhoschi, Director for World Water Week & Prizes, in a statement. “We are considering how we can incorporate the content developed for this year into World Water Week 2021,” she added.
A sampling of Canadian events that have recently been cancelled includes:
- South Central Ontario Water Works Association’s Spring Conference
- CWRA Alberta Branch Conference
- WEAO Technical Symposium and OPCEA Exhibition
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference and Trade Show
- CWRA 2020 National Conference
- Maritime Provinces Water and Wastewater Association Annual Seminar
For the latest information, please visit the event-specific websites directly.