The International River Foundation (IRF) is an Australian-based charitable organisation (of which I am a director) that promotes and rewards excellence in sustainable river basin management. The IRF awards annually the Thiess International River Prize.
This year’s International Riverprize winner, announced last week in Perth (West Australia) at the annual International Riversymposium, was the UK’s Thames River.
Pollution of the UK’s second longest river left it biologically dead in the 1950s, but since then the Environment Agency and its collaborating partners have helped transform the river into a healthy ecosystem, and with a returning salmon and otter population.
The Riverprize rewards outstanding efforts by river basin and restoration organisations around the world. It is the most valuable global water award, providing $350,000 (AUD) to the winner. This amount includes $100,000 to support future ‘twinning’ projects undertaken by the winner with a river basin organisation/group elsewhere in the world, usually in a developing country. These twining projects aim to build capacity, experience and funding for river basin management work undertaken in the twinning country.
Past winners of the International River Prize include the Mersey River (UK), Drome River (France), Danube River (Europe), Alexander River (Israel/Palestine), Sha River (China), Mekong River (SE Asia), Grand River (Canada), and St Johns River (USA). Current twinning projects are undertaken in Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Southern Africa, Russia, Argentina and Thailand.
Winner of the National Riverprize was the Derwent Estuary, Tasmania – a river once notorious for its heavy metal pollution.
You can read more about the Riverprize and the IRF at: www.riverfoundation.org.au