D.Love and G. Corzo-Perez

Tison Award 2012 / Prix Tison 2012

Presentation of the 2012 Tison Award

Delft, The Netherlands, 24 October 2012

Citation for the 2012 Tison Award by D. Koutsoyiannis

The Tison Award honours an outstanding paper of one or more young scientists, published in any of the IAHS publications and is now co-sponsored by Taylor & Francis, the publisher of Hydrological Sciences Journal. It was bestowed for first time 25 years ago, in 1987 in Vancouver, Canada, and the first recipient was Zbyszek Kundzewicz, now co-Editor of Hydrological Sciences Journal and IAHS. Since then up to 2011, the award has been bestowed 20 times on 33 scientists from several countries from Europe, Asia, Australia and Mediterranean Africa. Most of the laureates are now renowned hydrologists. One of them, the 2007 laureate Christophe Cudennec, is now our Secretary General.

This year 11 papers were candidate for the award. The Jury, which I had the honour to chair, decided that the award goes to the paper Rainfall-interception-evaporation-runoff relationships in a semi-arid catchment, northern Limpopo basin, Zimbabwe by five authors, published in the Hydrological Sciences Journal. Two of the authors are young scientists eligible for the award: the first author, David Love, and the third one, Gerald Corzo-Perez. Interestingly, the second author, Stefan Uhlenbrook, is no longer eligible age-wise but has been Tison laureate back in 2000. The other two authors are Steve Twomlow and Pieter van der Zaag. The paper emanates from an international cooperation from Zimbabwe, Kenya and The Netherlands.

It is important to note that the winner David Love is African working in Zimbabwe, while Gerald Corzo is both Columbian and Dutch, and works in Mexico. Thus, we have a unique case in the history of the Tison award that with one awarded paper we cover three continents. Also, we have another unique case that for first time in its history the award goes to an author from sub-Saharan Africa. And a third record is that for first time in its history the award goes to an author from America. Based on these coincidences we can be proud that the Tison award has, from now on, covered all five inhabited continents.

But, as I said, these are just coincidences and did not play any role in the selection of the winning paper. Irrespective of any consideration of geopolitics, the two winners are worthy recipients of the Tison award and their paper is really important.

David Love is an enthusiastic, energetic and dedicated African researcher. He was born in 1975 in Zambia. He holds a BSc from the University of Zimbabwe and an MSc from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He has impressive scientific achievements, including many well-cited publications. He is the Manager of WaterNet, a network of more than 50 knowledge institutions in sub-Saharan Africa for capacity building in Integrated Water Resources Management. He is the Chair of the Pan-African Steering Committee and the Regional Steering Committee for East and Southern Africa of the Partnership for Agricultural Water in Africa. He is a part-time lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. David and his wife also farm cattle in southern Zimbabwe.

Gerald Corzo is a civil engineer by training with a strong background in computational science. Currently he is a research professor at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico and adjunct investigator at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, working on hydroinformatics. One of the impressive elements of Gerald’s career is the multi-national and inter-continental setting of his studies. In addition to his activities in Mexico and The Netherlands, he has supervised master students in the North China University, and he is involved in a project for measuring precipitation through mobile phone antennas in Colombia, as well as in the analysis of the performance of the Bogota water supply system, again in Colombia. Furthermore, from 2011 he became the manager of the LatinAqua network for water research scientists in Latin America.

David Love, Gerald Corzo and the co-authors of the awarded paper have chosen a combined experimental and modelling approach to study the hydrological processes in a small catchment in Southern Zimbabwe, characterized by limited rainfall with strong spatial variability, which occurs over a limited period of time and produces ephemeral, disconnected discharge events. The catchment lies in a remote area where experimental hydrology is extremely challenging and reliable measurements did not exist before. Field work was extremely difficult, not only because of the hydro-climatic conditions during the two rainy seasons when it was carried out, but also due to the adverse economic situation in Zimbabwe.

The authors investigate in their paper the interplay of the different hydrological processes and, in particular, identify interception as a very important process in the water balance of the catchment. They demonstrate the importance of incorporating interception explicitly into the model structure using Monte Carlo simulations and model uncertainty assessment. The model suggests that groundwater recharge, despite being episodic, becomes very important in this water-scarce area.

As the Chair of the 2012 Tison Award Committee, I hope that bestowing the Tison Award on David Love and Gerald Corzo encourages them to further pursue fine research work in hydrology and strengthens their already established international scientific career.

Finally, I am happy to sum up that this year’s bestowing of the award is a clear demonstration of the importance of the globalized research collaboration and evidence of the importance of the mission of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences.

D. Koutsoyiannis
IAHS co-Editor and Chairman of the Jury of the 2012 Tison Award


Thank you very much for the award! It is a great honour for us!

David says, since my earliest days at university in Harare, I have always believed in team science, and over time, in transdisciplinary work as a way to tackle complex systems and their emergent properties. I have always been more of a boots-on-the -ground scientist (leather sandals rather than gumboots, given the climate), but it has been a delight to work with someone like Gerald who is at the sharp end of the modelling stick! I was very pleased that we could find a way to incorporate interception into our model, a critical parameter that demonstrates what one can see in the field: that few rain events in a semi-arid regime produce runoff, and few runoff events are continuous.

Gerald says, as commented by Dr. Demetris Koutsoyiannis, I have been involved more on dry hydrology recently than in the wet, not meaning that I have not worked with floods and high flows, but because I have been more a modeller than an experimentalist. It is interesting that with my experience as Hydroinformatician I believe that part of my role is to improve those scientific intersects that would normally be issues and turn them into a strength for scientific development. Hydrology has been something that requires important amount of experimental work and now more than ever is the time to complement it. Nowadays, Climate Change models have shown me the importance of exploring more intersects with local hydrological models, not only to improve the actual measurements, but as a key aspect to optimize and narrow our uncertainties in actual bias of the models and make predictions for the future. On the other hand extreme and fast event have shown what I see as Real Time Hydrology, which every day grows more in hybrid concepts of not only experimentalist vital information but also on the idea of learning from other fields of modern technology. These ideas have attracted me and are part of my main motivation to continue in the hydrological research.

Thank you again for this award which is indeed an important motivation for us both. We are also immensely privileged to be the first Tison laureate from Sub-Saharan African and Latin America.