Daniel Hillel, the 81 year old scientist with dual American and Israeli citizenships, has just won the 2012 World Food Prize for his work in micro-irrigation.
Hillel’s work, which was inspired during the 1950′s when he was living in the Negev desert, has enhanced food yields in dry regions of the world by maximizing limited supplies of water in those areas.
“I know that my work has not been in vain, to have it recognized at such a level internationally,” Hillel said. “One works mostly in the field or a community or in a far away country and the effect accumulates gradually until at last, if one is lucky, is recognized. So this award is very gratifying.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated Hillel, who was born in Los Angeles, for saving “every last drop” of water, during the announcement in Washington on Tuesday that he had won this year’s prize.
Hillel’s system of irrigation uses continuous drops of water to hydrate crops, replacing a system which flooded land intermittently, which wasted water in areas where the resource is scarce.