A giant has fallen - RIP Arjen

A giant has fallen - RIP Arjen

A Giant Has Fallen

arjen.pngIt is with great sadness that we inform you all that Professor Arjen Hoekstra has tragically passed away on November 19, 2019. Sincere sympathies to his family, friends, colleagues and all who knew him from me personally and all here at The Water Network.

Arjen was a giant in the water sector pioneering insights and practical ways to take on huge challenges. He was a friend to and advisor of The Water Network. With all of his big commitments he took the time to guide us strategically and give wise feedback and his support on several topics over the years for which we are eternally grateful.

Arjen will be terribly missed.


Please see below a blog written by a good friend and colleague of Arjen's,  BRIAN RICHTER from Sustainable Waters.

My dear friend Arjen Hoekstra – a giant in the water community — died last night while riding his bike to his home in the Netherlands.

More elaborate and comprehensive accolades will be surely be forthcoming, but I’d like my friends and students to know how much this guy meant to me, and to the water world.

Arjen created the concept of ‘water footprints.’ He was a student of Tony Allan’s at King’s College in London when Tony conceived of ‘virtual water’, i.e., the idea that as we transport commodities around the globe they carry with them virtual (embedded) water, meaning the water that was required to produce the commodity in the first place. It didn’t take Arjen long to realize that somebody needed to start quantifying how much water was embedded in those commodities!

You can find a full catalog of products on the website of the Water Footprint Network, the organization Arjen helped create with Ruth Mathews and others. Brilliant graduate students from around the world like Mesfin Mekonnen of Ethiopia flocked to the University of Twente to work with Arjen, their mentor.  Arjen became the maestro of an orchestra of scientists working feverishly to compute the water footprints not just of commodity products, but of entire companiescities, and countries.

Arjen was explosively productive. I admired him not just for his technical output and intelligence, but also for his undying commitment to helping other people and entities act in the most responsible, sustainable manner possible in their water use.  We worked closely together (with many others) in the creation of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, which became the world’s first comprehensive certification program for companies aspiring to use water wisely.