The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme community was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Professor W. Mike Edmunds on Tuesday 28 April.
Mike will be remembered as an internationally renowned hydrogeochemist and a leading contributor to the IHP. Mike’s passion for sustainable and equitable management of groundwater was reflected in his leading contribution to the IHP G-WADI programme.
The programme, which provides a UNESCO Global Network on Water and Development Information for Arid Lands was established in 2004 to strengthen the global capacity for management of water resources in arid and semi-arid regions. Mike has played an instrumental role in establishing G-WADI regional networks in Asia, Africa, LAC, Arab region and recently in Europe. In 2013 he published a review of the achievements of the programme over its first 10 years – many of which benefited from his experience and enthusiasm.
Mike was a pioneer in the study of groundwater as an archive of past climate change and his research provided seminal scientific advances on controls on water quality in regional aquifers, recharge over time and space. After a career spanning 35 years at the British Geological Survey, Mike went on to help set up the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management at Oxford University. Mike continued to play an active role in developing the G-WADI programme up until his death, helping establish two new regional centres in the Arab Region and South East Europe in the last 18 months. He was an active member of the UK National Committee for the IHP and a friend and supporter of many aspects of UNESCO’s freshwater activities. Mike’s contribution to advancing global groundwater science for sustainable development will be greatly missed.