In Memory of Arjen Hoekstra 1967-2019

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the unexpected death of Arjen Hoekstra, Professor of Water Management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Professor Hoekstra led a group of at UTwente who are long-time members of TIAS. He was just 52 years old.

Those TIAS members who knew and worked with Arjen Hoekstra, have known him as an academic highly committed to making a difference in the field of sustainable development. He had a sharp and focused mind, but one that was open to new ideas and ways of approaching research from those who worked with him.

Arjen Hoekstra is best known as the architect of the water footprint assessment. According to his colleagues at the University of Twente:

‘He introduced ‘chain thinking’ into water management, and pioneered the quantification of water use behind internationally traded goods, by which he demonstrated the relevance of a global perspective in the areas of water use and water scarcity.

Hoekstra laid the basis for the interdisciplinary field Water Footprint Assessment, which deals with the relation between water management, consumption and trade. In order to translate theory into practice he set up the Water Footprint Network, an international network of researchers and practitioners that strives for more sustainable and equitable water use worldwide.’

Source: UTwente News 20.11.2019

The water footprint was certainly one of his greatest contributions to the array of approaches that fall within the Integrated Assessment portfolio. Under his guidance, the grey water footprint is also one of the approaches being instrumentalised in the MEDUWA project, of which TIAS is a partner. This work will be completed by his colleagues next year. We trust that it will serve as one of the many legacies he has left for us.

Our heartfelt condolences go to his family, friends and close colleagues. He will be very much missed.

Klaus Jacob, Jan Bakkes, Marcela Brugnach, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Joanne Vinke-de Kruijf and Caroline van Bers on behalf of  The Integrated Assessment Society