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Applied Hydrogeology Award, 2021

The Applied Hydrogeology Award of the International Association of Hydrogeologists is presented annually to a person who is a groundwater professional and has made outstanding contributions to the application of hydrogeology, particularly in developing countries or in support of international development efforts. The Award for 2021 is presented to Maria Stella Lizarazo Rojas jointly with Paul Bauman.

Maria Stella Lizarazo Rojas

Maria Stella Lizarazo Rojas graduated in Chemical Engineering at the University of America, Bogota, Colombia in 1972 and then pursued a postgraduate degree in groundwater at the National University, Colombia.

Spending most of her career at Arturo Lizarazo & Co, initially as Chief Operations Officer, and later as Technical Vice-Manager, she rose to Chief Executive Officer, before stepping down in 2013, but continuing as a senior consultant for special projects. Her roles have taken her across Colombia, serving the agricultural, livestock, industrial and domestic markets, specialising in water well maintenance, pumping systems and geophysical methods for groundwater surveying.

Maria Stella has contributed much to developing the groundwater profession in Colombia. She was a founding partner (1979) and President (1981-1983 and 1991-1993) of ACOAGUA, a non-profit association promoting technical standards, field research and technical training concerning groundwater. From 2011-2012 she was a Board Member for the Colombian Association of Hydrogeologists ACH, the Colombian National Chapter of IAH.

She has contributed to national initiatives on training and professional practice. She was responsible for seminars sustainable development of groundwater resources in the Bogota Savannah for ACH. She supported the UN programme for water well operation and maintenance for public utilities. She was a Member of the Technical Committee for the National Technical Water Well Construction Standards. She was Editor of ACOAGUA’s periodic bulletin from 1984-1993 and organised conferences on various aspects of drilling and groundwater development, including the use of geophysical techniques.

In a remarkable career, Maria Stella has helped pave the way for female and male hydrogeologists and water well specialists, influenced national policy making and developed improved industry practices. In 2011 she was recognised by the Colombian Society of Engineers with the award of lifetime membership. Maria Stella Lizarazo Rojas is a worthy recipient of the IAH Applied Hydrogeology Award.

Watch presentation of award taking place at IAH’s General Assembly, where IAH’s Secretary General Jane Dottridge discusses Maria’s remarkable achievements, here.

Paul Bauman

Paul Bauman received a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering and a minor in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and a Master’s degree in groundwater and geophysics from the University of Waterloo in Canada. He has more than 30 years’ experience in near surface geophysical exploration for groundwater, natural resources and features including tunnels, unexploded bombs, industrial waste and ancient burials.

Paul has carried out groundwater exploration and community water supply projects in Yemen and in East and Southern Africa. Following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia, he was seconded to UNICEF to assess the impacts on water resources in Aceh Province and to assist with redevelopment of water supplies. Since 2014, Paul has volunteered to lead WASH courses to refugees in Kenya and IDPs in Uganda, and volunteered his time and equipment for geophysical groundwater exploration programs in Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan. Through his work, Paul contributed to a breakthrough article in the Lancet that, for the first time, directly linked fluorosis to groundwater wells with excessive fluoride concentrations. In 2017 Paul led an emergency response programme for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

In 2018 Paul received the 2018 SEG Craig J Beasley Award for Social Contribution for his humanitarian water supply work. Paul was the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists 2020 Distinguished Lecturer. He used this platform to educate and inspire university students and staff at campuses across Canada and the USA on how geophysics and hydrogeological science can be used to develop sustainable water resources in low-and-middle-income countries.

Paul has made a significant material improvement to the lives of those with precarious access to safe drinking water and, through his training programmes and initiatives, he has helped build resiliency within impoverished communities to locate, access, and maintain precious groundwater drinking resources. Most of the time he has devoted has been completely voluntary, and he has inspired countless other hydrogeology and geoscience practitioners to donate their time and energy to assist. Paul Bauman is a worthy recipient of the IAH Applied Hydrogeology Award.

Watch presentation of award taking place at IAH’s General Assembly, where IAH’s Secretary General Jane Dottridge introduces Paul’s inspirational acceptance speech, here.


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