The 2003 Henry Darcy Medal is awarded to Georges Vachaud for his outstanding contributions in the sustainable management of soil and groundwater systems.
Professor George Vachaud is a reputed scientist in the field of unsaturated zone and groundwater hydrology. He has developed extensive research lines in the management of soils for agricultural purposes, paying particular attention to the transport of solutes and the leaching of salts and nutrients. His research extends from laboratory and field investigations of water and solutes transport in the sub-surface to environmental protection and the impact of land-use and climate change on the sustainable management of the soil. He co-authored more than 90 scientific papers, supervised over 45 theses, and has been in charge of a large number of research projects for French and EU programmes.
The fact that he has dedicated much of his time to research and capacity building in developing countries, with a high relevance for socio-economic development, makes him particularly eligible for the Darcy medal. He has extensive working experience in North Africa, South Africa, and South-East Asia in the area of water resources management.
George Vachaud’s background is in civil engineering with an MSc in soil mechanics. After working for 2 years as a research engineer in water resources engineering at the University of Davis, California, he completed his PhD in soil physics at the University of Grenoble. He is presently the Research Director of the CNRS, the French National Foundation for Scientific Research. He served the EGS as General President from 1994-1996.
Georges Vachaud is very well known among hydrologists world-wide, since he has been the Executive editor of the Journal of Hydrology since 1995. Through his efforts he was able to maintain the position of the journal as one of the high quality platforms for hydrological publications.
George Vachaud already has an interesting medal collection. He won the Silver medal of the CNRS for excellent research achievements in 1977 ; he was awarded Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy; and Fellow of the American Soil Science Society for his work in developing countries in 1994. But, (surely for a Frenchman) the most beautiful medal that he will add to his collection is the EGS medal named after the most famous French water engineer: Henry Darcy, which the Hydrological Sciences Section awards to researchers for their outstanding scientific contributions in water resources research and water resources engineering and management.