The Robert N. Farvolden Award is used to honour outstanding contributions to the disciplines of earth science and engineering that emphasize the role or importance of groundwater.  


Candidates for the Award must be members of either the Canadian Geotechnical Society or the Canadian National Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists.

Selection Criteria 

The Award is presented to an individual or group to recognize excellence in one or more of the following broad areas of hydrogeology: research and publication, professional practice and education, and service to the professional community or public, either nationally or internationally. The nominee (or nominees in the case of a joint nomination) may be a specialist or a generalist working in academia, or for a government agency or in consulting. The nominee(s) should display a similar integrity, mentorship, or similar unselfish leadership that distinguished Robert N. Farvolden in his career.   If there are no suitable nominees in a particular year, the award does not have to be given that year.

Award Selection Committee

The Chair of Selection Committee (non‐voting) is selected by the Chair of CGS Groundwater Division and the President of IAH‐CNC. The Chair coordinates the nomination and selection process. The committee consists of three or five CGS Groundwater Division and IAH‐CNC members selected by the Chair of CGS Groundwater Division and the President of IAH‐CNC. Decisions are made by a majority of the committee members. This committee may reject, without further consideration, any nomination that, in its opinion does not adequately detail the contributions of the candidate(s).

Nomination and Selection Procedure and Schedule

A nomination describing the contributions of the candidate(s) must be submitted to the Secretariat in accordance with the procedure and schedule listed below. Nominations can be made by any CGS or IAH‐ CNC member and submitted to CGS Headquarters or the President of IAH‐CNC.   Nominations should be supported by letters of support, including at least two from outside the institution to which the nominee(s) belong(s). Appropriate nominations include a summary of academic background, mentoring and/or teaching credentials, career achievements and contributions to Canadian hydrogeology through leadership and participation. Nominees can be considered for three years following their initial nomination. CGS members should submit nominations to CGS Headquarters; IAH‐CNC members should submit nominations to President of IAH‐CNC; both parties confirm eligibility, then forward the nominations to Chair of Selection Committee.


Award and Funding

The Award is in the form of an engraved and framed certificate, provided and paid for by the Society.


The Award is presented at the CGS Awards Ceremony, at the annual conference, or at an appropriate IAH‐ CNC meeting, by the CGS President and the Groundwater Division Chair and/or the President of IAH‐CNC (or designates). Regardless of which organization makes the presentation, the name of the awardee will be announced at the other’s meeting or conference.

Previous Winners

Previous winners include Robert Chapuis (2000), John Cherry (2001), Jozsef Toth (2002), John Gartner (2003), Garth van der Kamp (2005), Emil Frind (2007), Pierre Gelinas (2009), Robert Van Everdingen (2010), Bob Betcher (2011), Allan Freeze (2012), Jim Barker (2014), Diana Allen (2015), Rene Lefebvre (2016), Mike Wei (2017), and Larry Bentley (2018).


Bob Farvolden was born in Forrestburg, Alberta in 1928, helped establish the Groundwater Division at the Research Council of Alberta in 1960, completed his Ph.D. with George Maxey at the University of Illinois in 1963 and later taught there. He returned to Canada in the 1967 teaching at the University of Western Ontario, where he became the first professor of hydrogeology in any Canadian university. However, it was his move to the University of Waterloo in 1970 that lead to the establishment of the hydrogeology program at Waterloo. This lead to his hiring in 1971 of the group that was to become the core of the Waterloo hydrogeology faculty: John Cherry, his former student at Illinois then teaching at the University of Manitoba, Peter Fritz then at the University of Alberta, and Emil Frind, who had with worked with Bob Farvolden and introduced groundwater flow modeling into Canada by simulating the dewatering operations during the relocation of the Welland Canal in the late 1960s (Canadian Geotechnical Journal, (1970) 7:194‐204). Bob Farvolden received the Maxey medal of the Geological Society of America in 1992 and played an important role in developing hydrogeological education programs in Mexico and Costa Rica during the last years of his life. He died of cancer in 1995. To many of us, he is the father of modern Canadian hydrogeology