Groundwater Prize


Dr. Jesús Carrera Ramirez (IDAEA, Barcelona).

The prize is awarded to Dr. Carrera for his critical contributions to the development of mathematical hydrogeology and transport modelling in groundwater systems.

His work increases the significance and relevance of computer simulations for groundwater research, by re-estimating the value of governing parameters, identifying new mechanisms and parameters to describe transport phenomena in groundwater, and searching for solutions on transport situations that are not described by standard simulation techniques.

As a result, he has made a quantitative identification of the processes and searched for solutions to these phenomena, including the globally critical problem of seawater intrusion and water salinisation in arid regions.

His developments in the field of groundwater conservative and reactive transport modelling have advanced the field towards the reliable prediction of the long‐term fate of pollutants in environmental systems.

Winner Profile

Dr. Carrera is a research professor at the Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Barcelona, Spain.


• PhD. 1984; University of Arizona, Tucson, Hydrology.
• DCE. 1979; Technical University of Madrid, Spain, Civil Engineering.

Selected Awards:

2007: Second Award “Carlos Ruiz Celaá” of Hydrogeology, together with Agustín Medina and Juan Hidalgo.
2006: Medal of ETSI, Caminos de Barcelona.
2004: Henry Darcy Medal, European Geosciences Union.
1998: Silver Medal of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
1993: Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences Prize.

Acceptance Speech

Your Royal Highness, Crown prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Your Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Sultan, ladies and gentlemen:

Words do not suffice to express how honored I feel by this award. I have devoted my life to hydrology and recognition by the community is the dream of a scientist.

Clearly, the award acknowledges not only me as an individual, but the whole community I work with. I do not want to tire you with all the people who have helped me, but it would be unfair to ignore my family, represented here by my son Suso, who have suffered that my dedication to Science may have implied a lot less dedication to them.

Actually, the problems I have worked on are fascinating.

We have seen that evaporation works not only upwards, but also downwards, diluting the water beneath and ensuring that salts remain as a crust in the surface, which opens new paths for managing soil salinization.

We have worked on sea water intrusion, and we have seen that the problem is a bit more complex than it appears, but also that this very complexity leads naturally to ways to control it, which would be desirable, given that a huge proportion of the world population drinks water from coastal aquifers.

We have observed that urban groundwater is abundant and reflects the city habits (we have identified expensive drugs in groundwater under rich neighborhoods and cheap drubs in poor quarters). But we have also observed that most pollutants get degraded, so that urban groundwater remains a rich source of fresh water.

We have used this experience to test new concepts of artificial recharge to promote not only the increase of water resources but also the improvement of its quality by making water flow through a reactive layer.

And, finally, we have studied how waters mix, which is necessary to promote many natural chemical reactions that ultimately cause the improvement in water quality.

So, I am very fortunate, because I have been awarded for working in what I like best. It is for this reason I feel so exhilarated that I encourage you to continue with your fight for water. I am convinced that, in these troubled times, where no one knows where good and bad lies, the fight for water and the environment may represent a good path to walk together in brotherhood and peace.

Thank you!

Jesús Carrera Ramirez

Winning Work

1. Carrera, J.; Hidalgo, J.J.; Slooten, L.J. and Vázquez-Suñé, 2010. "Computational and conceptual issues in the calibration of seawater intrusion models". Hydrogeology Journal, 18:131-145.

2. E. Vazquez-Sun, J. Carrera, I. Tubau, X. Sanchez-Vila and A. Soler, 2010. "An approach to identify urban groundwater recharge". Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14. 2085-2097.

3. Le Bogne, T.; Dentz, M.; Bolster, D.; Carrera, J.; De dreuzy, J.R.; Davy, P, 2010. "Non-Fickian mixing: temporal evolution of the scalar dissipation rate". Advances in Water Resources, 33:12:1468–1475.

4. Barbieri, M.; Carrera, J.; Sanchez-Vila, X.; Ayora, C.; Cama, J.; Köck-Schulmeyer, M.; López de Alda, M.; Barceló D.; Tobella J. & Hernández García, M., 2011. "Microcosm experiments to control anaerobic redox conditions when studying the fate of organicmicropollutants in aquifer material". Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 126 (2011) 330–345.

5. Gran, M., Carrera, J., Olivella, S., & Saaltink, M. W., 2011, "Modeling evaporation processes in a saline soil from saturation to oven dry conditions". Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15(7), 2077-2089.

Back to 6th Award Winners