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UC Berkeley’s Professor Ashok Gadgil is the inaugural recipient of the Zuckerberg Water Prize

May 1, 2022



University of California, Berkeley Prof. Ashok Gadgil is the recipient of the 2022 Zuckerberg Water Prize for his outstanding leadership, vision, innovation, and lasting global impact in the field of water, the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR) of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced last week. 

Prof. Gadgil holds the Distinguished Chair of Safe Water and Sanitation in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He is among the foremost pioneers of the engineering-development nexus. Throughout his career, he has been a true visionary and leader in the field of water, having laid the foundation for the field of Development Engineering and serving as one of its most influential researchers ever since the international prize committee said. 

The award ceremony will take place during the biannual International Water Summit to be held May 22-23, 2022 on the Sde Boker campus where the recipient will deliver a plenary talk. 

The upcoming summit will address applied and fundamental questions related to the nexus of water, humanity, and the environment, and will host highly distinguished speakers to discuss cutting-edge research, related challenges, future directions, and implications for policy. 

This legacy award is granted through the generous donation of Mr. Roy Zuckerberg – General Partner, Executive Committee member, and Senior Director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and former Vice Chairman of the firm. 

Mr. Zuckerberg is Honorary Chairman of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), which leads interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research and advanced education in water sciences, aimed at improving human well-being in drylands through technologies and policies for sustainable use of water resources. Mr. Zuckerberg is a past long-serving Chairman of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and holds an honorary doctoral degree from the same university. 

For the past three decades, Prof. Gadgil has been identifying water challenges posing a wide range of adverse health and other human impacts, inventing robust, inclusive, and affordable engineering technologies, and implementing them at scale to serve human health and development in remote, developing, and resource-poor areas globally. 

Prof. Gadgil has trail-blazed utilizing multiple technologies to treat different water contaminants and developed these into viable, cost-efficient, patented, licensed, and globally deployed systems that have improved the lives of millions. 

Among his developments are a system using ultraviolet light to disinfect water now deployed in five countries; an effective and affordable technology for removing arsenic from groundwater piloted in India and slated for field testing in California; a low-cost effective fluoride treatment technology using lightly treated mineral bauxite as an adsorbent, scheduled for field testing; effective and highly cost-efficient electrocoagulation of lead pipes to curb leaching of the deadly heavy metal; and, most recently, a newly developed method for removing chromate from contaminated groundwater.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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