IWA’s Heritage

Honouring IWA’s Distinguished Pioneers and
Their Legacies in the IWA history

To tell the story of the people that built IWA and its predecessor organizations IWSA and IAWPR/IAPRC/IAWQ was and still is a challenging task. We have chosen a “bio” format to provide a picture of these individuals. We created a format for these bios that reveals their stories in a consistent and concise manner, with a specific focus on IWA and their professional contribution to the organization, while at the same time allowing for color and wit to enter the picture.

These bios are labelled ‘Tailored Professional Tributes’ (TPT) – a term and acronym that will henceforth be used in this document.  In line with the TPT designation, the “IWA Distinguished Pioneer Tailored Professional Tribute” format was formally adopted as the standard for the development and presentation of IWA DP TPTs in this document and beyond.

Our default plan was to assign the writing of these TPTs to the person or persons closest to the individual in question, particularly the context of their roles and activities in IWA.  In practice, with the passage of time being the dominant explanation for departures from this ideal, the process of putting together a TPT sometimes met the ideal and for others, involved putting together pieces of the DP’s past, followed by a process of writing it up, followed by as much review as possible.  On the review side, each TPT was separately reviewed by between two and three editorial team members.

What follows are the tributes to approximately 50 fascinating people – people who through their imagination, commitment and hard work pooled their talents and intellects to develop a very special organization that we are proud to call The International Water Association.

An Important Point of Historical Reference for the Distinguished Pioneers

The backbone of the history of IWSA, and IAWPR/IAWPRC/IAWQ were a combination of the Associations’ Presidents and World Water Congresses. A significant number of the Distinguished Pioneers (who are all deceased) were also Presidents of their respective Association (shown in italics in the table).  They are listed in the table below, extracted from the IWA History Report.

Year Congress


  Year Congress


Association President
1947 A Winter             (GB)
1949 Amsterdam C Biemond          (NL)
1952 Paris R Brunotte          (FR)
1955 London A Winter             (GB)
1958 Brussels L Pollet                (BE)
1961 Berlin K Hunerberg       (DE) 1962 London
1964 Stockholm B Nillson              (SE) 1964 Tokyo
1965 IAWPR founded E Pearson           (US)
1966 Barcelona F Briones             (ES) 1966 Berlin
1969 Vienna K Megay              (AU) 1968/69 Prague G Stander            (ZA)
1970 San Francisco
1972 New York F Merryfield        (US) 1972 Jerusalem
1974 Brighton L Millis                 (GB) 1974 Paris  
1976 Amsterdam C van derVeen    (NL) 1976 Sydney B Hawerman       (SE)
1978 Kyoto T Ishibashi           (JP) 1978 Stockholm
1980 Paris G Dejouany         (FR) 1980 Toronto R Engelbrecht    (US)
1982 Zurich M Schalekamp   (CH) 1982 Cape Town
1984 Monastir A Frih                   (TN) 1984 Amsterdam
1986 Rome J Diricks               (BE) 1986 Rio de Janeiro P Harremoes    (DK)
1988 Rio de Janeiro W Richardson     (US) 1988 Brighton
1990 Kyoto P. Grau                (CR)
1991 Copenhagen H Tessendorf      (DE) 1992 Washington DC
1993 Budapest A Rustad             (NO) 1994 Budapest T Keinath            (US)
1995 Durban P Giacasso          (IT) 1996 Singapore
1997 Madrid N Hood               (GB) 1998 Vancouver P Odendaal         (ZA)
1999 Buenos Aires see below

Post-Buenos Aires Congress through the October, 2001 Berlin IWA Congress

Vincent Bath and Piet Odendaal served as Co-Presidents of IWA

The Distinguished Professionals