Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize

In 1980, two years after the death of Otto Jaag (1900–1978) and at his request, Elisabeth Jaag-Schenk set up the "Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize" fund at the ETH Zurich, in order to recognize outstanding dissertations and Master's theses in the field of water protection/hydrology at the ETH Zurich.

Professor Jaag, who was renowned both nationally and internationally as a water protection pioneer, served as the Director of Eawag from 1952 to 1970. The Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize, which is worth CHF 1000, is awarded annually at a ceremony held on "ETH-Tag".


Members of the ETH Zurich teaching staff are entitled to propose candidates for the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize. The Jury comprises the Rector of the ETH Zurich and two other ETH Professors working at Eawag. For this term these are Prof. Dr. Günther Dissertori - Rektor, Professor Jukka Jokela and Professor Eberhard Morgenroth.

Deadline for submissions

Proposals for the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize must be submitted no later than 15 June each year.

Electronic submissions

The following documents are to be submitted in PDF format:

  • a brief explanation of the reasons for the nomination
  • the dissertation or Master's theses
  • for dissertations only: copies of the advisor's and co-advisor's comments

Documents are to be submitted in PDF format to Prof. Jukka Jokela and Prof. Eberhard Morgenroth.

Hard-copy submissions

In the case of hard-copy submissions, applications should be made in duplicate. The documents should be sent to:

Prof. Dr. Eberhard Morgenroth
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf


Prof. Dr. Jukka Jokela
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf

Jukka Jokela and Eberhard Morgenroth will evaluate the proposals on the basis of scientific depth, innovation, relevance and publications and, together with the Rector, decide on awarding the prize.

Prize Winners

Current award winners 2022

Wenzel Gruber and Urs Schönenberger have been awarded the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize 2022 for their dissertations "Long-term N2O emission monitoring in biological wastewater treatment: methods, applications and relevance" and "The overlooked pathway: hydraulic shortcuts and their influence on pesticide transport in agricultural areas" respectively.

List of winners of the Otto Jaag Water Protection Prize



first name(s)
Dissertation / thesis
2021 Elisa CALAMITA Modelling the effects of large dams on water quality in tropical rivers
2020 Matthew MOY DE VITRY Public Surveillance and the Future of Urban Pluvial Flood Modelling
2019 Stefan ACHERMANN Exploring linkages between micropollutant biotransformation reactions and microbial community characteristics in activated sludge
2018 Wenfeng LIU Modelling Global Water-Food-Invironment-Trade Nexus in the Context of Agricultural Intensification
2017 Michael BESMER Monitoring short-term dynamics of bacterial concentrations in natural and engineered aquatic ecosystems
2016 Hanspeter ZÖLLIG Electrolysis for the Treatment of Stored Source-Separated Urine
2015 Christoph MOSCHET Adressing Blind Spots in the Assessment of Pesticides in Surface Waters: A Complete Screening using Trace-Level Mass Spectrometry Techniques and Complementary Sampling Strategies
2014 Lisa SCHOLTEN Multi-criteria decision analysis for water supply infrastructure planning under uncertainty
2013 Francesca VERONES Methodologies for the evaluation of water use related impacts on biodiversity within Life Cycle Assessment
2012 Sebastian STOLL On the Impact of Climate Change on Groundwater Resources
2011 Saskia ZIMMERMANN Enhanced Wastewater Treatment by Ozone and Ferrat: Kinetics, Transformation Products and Full-scale Ozonation
2010 Linda ROBERTS Arsenic dynamics in groundwater-irrigated and seasonally flooded paddy fields in Bangladesh
2009 Jan Christian MILZOW Hydrological and sedimentological modelling of the Okavango Delta Wetlands, Botswana
2008 Andreas PETER Taste and Odor in Drinking Water: Sources and Mitigation Strategies
2007 David Jérôme DÜRRENMATT Berechnung des Verlaufs der Abwassertemperatur im Kanalisationsrohr


David Christian FINGER Effects of hydropower operation and oligotrophication on internal processes in Lake Brienz
2005 Anke GÖBEL Occurence and fate of sulfonamide and macrolide antimicrobials in wastewater treatment
2004 Peter BAUER Flooding and salt transport in the Okavango Delta, Botswana: Key issues for sustainble wetland management


Simon DENOTH Zweidimensionale Hochwassersimulation der Elbe zwischen Torgau und Coswig

Marco Cornelis Matheus


Using Reporter Bacteria to Study the Bioavailability of Pollutants in Aqueous Environments

2001 Jacob Leendert HUISMAN Transport and transformation processes in combined sewers
2000 Nina Anke SCHWEIGERT Modes of Action and Toxicity of (Chloro-)Catechol/Copper Combinations
1998 Thomas BUCHELI Occurrence and behavior of pesticides during storm water infiltration
1997 Barbara BAUMANN Dynamics of Denitrification in Paracoccus denitrificans
1996 Jörg KLAUSEN Abiotic redox transformations of aromatic nitro and amino compounds in suspensions of soil minerais. Laboratory studies in batch and flow -through systems
1996 Michael GFELLER Kinetics of Hydrolytic Reactions of Organic Compounds at Soil Mineral-Water Interfaces



Kinetics of the reduction of polyhalogenated methanes in model systems

1994 Reto VON SCHULTHESS Die Emission von Lachgas N2O in denitrifizierenden Belebungsanlagen
1991 Peter KREBS Modellierung und Verbesserung der Strömung in Nachklärbecken
1990 Paul WERSIN The Fe(II)-CO2 -H2 0 System in Anoxic Natural Waters: Equilibria and Surface Chemistry
1989 Nader AL-AWADHI The Characterization and Physiology of some Thermotolerant and Thermophilic Solvent-Utilizing Bacteria



Wirbelfallschächte in der Kanalisationstechnik

1987 Alfred WÜEST Ursprung und Grösse von Mischungsprozessen im Hypolimnion natürlicher Seen
1986 Gerhard FURRER Die oberflächenkontrollierte Auflösung von Metalloxiden: Ein koordinationschemischer Ansatz zur Verwitterungskinetik
1985 Hansruedi SIEGRIST Stofftransportprozesse in festsitzender Biomasse
1983 Andreas FRUTIGER Untersuchungen zur Oekologie der räuberischen Steinfliege Dinocras cephalotes Curtis (Plecoptera: Perlidae) in einem Fliessgewässer der schweizerischen Voralpen
1981 Hansjörg FRICKER Critical Evaluation of the Application of Statistical Phosphorus Loading Models to Alpine Lakes
1980 Laura SIGG Die Wechselwirkung von Anionen und schwachen Säuren mit a-FeOOH (Goethit) in wässriger Lösung

About Otto Jaag

Coming from a very modest family background, Otto Jaag was only able to realize his aspiration of studying natural sciences at Geneva University thanks to a private loan. In 1929, he completed his studies with a dissertation on "Experimental studies of lichens". He then worked as a researcher and, from 1933, as a lecturer (Privatdozent) in Hydrobiology and Cryptogamic Botany at the ETH Institute for Special Botany.

At the age of 41, Jaag became Associate Professor at the ETH Zurich, and in 1952 he was appointed as Director of Eawag. Under Jaag's enterprising leadership, Eawag's activities rapidly expanded to cover a wider range of environmental protection concerns.

From 1952 to 1954, in his capacity as Chair of the Extraparliamentary Commission responsible for elaborating the Federal Water Protection Act of 1955, Jaag played a key role in the development of Swiss water protection legislation and its constitutional underpinnings. In 1953, the Act was approved by voters, with a majority of over 80%.

In the international arena, Jaag served for many years on expert bodies at the WHO, the OECD, the Economic Commission for Europe and the Council of Europe.

Publications concerning Otto Jaag

  • Braun R. Stickelberger D. (1982): Otto Jaag: ein Leben für den Gewässerschutz. Schweizer Pioniere der Wirtschaft und Technik 36. 88 S. Verein für Wirtschaftshistorische Studien.
  • Hörler A. (1970): Professor Dr. Dr. Ing. E.h. Otto Jaag 70 jährig. Gwf Wasser Abwasser 111. 175-177.
  • Vogel H. E. (1970): Prof. Dr. Dr. Ing. E.h. Jaag - Präsident der Schweizerischen Vereinigung für Gewässerschutz und Lufthygiene. Gwf Wasser Abwasser 111. 181-182.
  • Festschrift Otto Jaag zum 60. Geburtstag am 29. April 1960. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Hydrologie Vol. XXII, Fasc. I, 1960, 562 S. Birkhäuser Verlag Basel und Stuttgart.

Selected publications by Otto Jaag

  • 1935: Eine neue Blaualge, Plectonema capitata. Berichte Schweizerische Botanische Gesellschaft, 44.
  • 1952: Gewässerschutz in der Schweiz - I. Die neuere Entwicklung und der derzeitige Zustand schweizerischer Gewässer. Gwf Wasser Abwasser, 93/H.6, 145-152.
  • 1954: Die Eidgenössische Anstalt für Wasserversorgung, Abwasserreinigung und Gewässerschutz an der E.T.H.; Aufgabe und Organisation. VSA Verbandsbericht, 31/1, 1-11.
  • 1961: Aktuelle Probleme des Gewässerschutzes [mit Vorwort der Redaktion]. Wirtschaftspolitische Mitteilungen, 17/H.12.
  • 1961: Edgardo Baldi Memorial Lecture - Selbstreinigungsmechanismen in Fliessgewässern. Verhandlungen der Internationalen Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie, 14, 41-58.
  • 1964: Untersuchungen über die Trübungsverhältnisse, die Durchsichtigkeit und die Wasserfarbe in schweizerischen Gewässern. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Hydrologie, 26/1, 1-51.
  • 1967: Die wissenschaftliche Leistung der Stiftung der Wirtschaft zur Förderung des Gewässerschutzes in der Schweiz. Plan, 24, 137-140.
  • 1969: Katastrophen und Gewässerschutz in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Zivilschutz, Nr. 5-9.
  • 1970: Muss die Menschheit wirklich zugrunde gehen? Abschiedsvorlesung anlässlich des ETH Tages vom 14. Nov. 1970.

List of publications