IWA Global Water Award

Introducing the IWA Global Water Award

The IWA Global Water Award recognises individuals who, through innovative leadership and practice, have made an outstanding contribution to progress towards a world in which water is wisely managed. Showcasing exceptional individuals who have changed industry norms to create lasting progress, the Global Water Award is the most prestigious IWA award and recognises leading water innovators driving impactful change.

Eligible candidates can be IWA members or non-members from academia, science or practice (utilities, consultancy, technology providers, government, NGOs and civil society, or international organisations).

Assessment criteria and procedure

Vision – The nominee will have established themselves as someone to whom others look for inspiration, insight, and authority on the direction of developments relating to water.

Leadership – The nominee will have a demonstrated track record as a leader, initiating and overseeing noteworthy actions in the water sector.

Impact – The nominee will be someone who has clearly been influential in bringing about change in the sector.

Based on these criteria, a review panel will make a preliminary assessment of all submissions and develop a shortlist of nominees. Shortlisted candidates will proceed to the second stage, where they will be requested to provide more information about their career paths. This information will then be assessed by a judging panel formed by high-level IWA members, comprising experts from industry, university, utilities and stakeholders in the water and wastewater sector from various regions.

Award ceremony

The winner of the 2024 IWA Global Water Award will receive a trophy and certificate honouring their contributions. The Award will be presented at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, Canada (11-15 August 2024), in front of a global audience of water leaders. Additionally, the winner will be introduced to various important groups and committees within IWA.


Who can submit a nomination?

Nominators must be active IWA members. Self-nominations and nominations submitted by family members of the nominee will not be accepted.

The deadline is over. May I still submit my nomination?

No, it won’t be possible to submit nominations after the deadline. If the nomination period is closed, it means that the judging process has started and we are unable to consider late submissions.

Is more than one person able nominate me for the award?

Candidates may be nominated by multiple members, however only one nomination may be considered.

Can I withdraw or edit my nomination?

Yes. Should you wish to withdraw or edit the nomination after it has been submitted, please send your request to awards@iwahq.org

What language can nominations be made in?

Unfortunately we are only able to consider nominations made in English. Please do not submit your nomination in another language as these nominations will not be considered.


Past Awardees

Jamie Bartram

Jisung Wu

Daniel Okun

Mark van Loosdrecht

Jim Gill

Bianca Jimenez Cisneros

David Jenkins

Trussel Rhodes

Baoxing Qiu

Catarina de Albuquerque

Tony Wong

Marcos Von Sperling

2022 IWA Global Water Award

Nisha Mandani

Nisha Mandani is the winner of the 2022 IWA Global Water Award. In deciding to recognise the achievements of Mrs Mandani, the judges noted that she demonstrates “an outstanding profile with clear vision and leadership on the water sector, generating important impacts for vulnerable communities”. They recognised her work as a significant contribution to the provision of water and sanitation across many countries. Learn more about Nisha Mandani…

2021 IWA Global Water Award

Marcos Von Sperling

Inspirational academic Marcos von Sperling has won the acclaimed IWA Global Water Award at the Digital World Water Congress.

Professor von Sperling, who works at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, won the award for his work on wastewater and water pollution. Marcos’ research has focused on innovative solutions which have practical application. His research, which has influenced policy in Latin American and beyond, has inspired many students, researchers and policy-makers. Learn more…

2018 IWA Global Water Award

Tony Wong

Tony Wong is the winner of the 2018 IWA Global Water Award. The award recognises Wong’s pioneering programme of work – the water sensitive cities approach- that uses a unique socio-technical approach to concurrently address the social, environmental and economic challenges of traditional urban water management. Learn more about Tony Wong…

2016 IWA Global Water Award

Catarina de Albuquerque

Catarina de Albuquerque is the winner of the 2016 IWA Global Water Award. The award recognises the exceptional role she has played as the driving force behind the recognition of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation. In 2008 she became the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, having played a pivotal role in the recognition of water and sanitation as human rights by the UN General Assembly. Learn more.

2014 IWA Global Water Award

Qiu Baoxing

Dr. Qiu Baoxing has made outstanding contributions to manage and improve water pollution and water environmental governance in the face of China’s rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. Under his leadership between 2001-2013, the number of wastewater treatment plants in urban areas of China dramatically increased from 506 to 3513, a more than seven-fold increase. This equates to a total capacity increase from 35 million to 150 million cubic meter of wastewater being treated each day, a four-fold increase. Learn more… 

2012 IWA Global Water Award

Rhodes Trussell

Dr. Rhodes Trussell served for more than ten years on EPA’s Science Advisory Board, on several committees for the National Academies, including as Chair of their Water Science and Technology Board. For the International Water Association, Dr. Trussell has served on the Scientific and Technical Council, Editorial Boards, and on the Program Committee.

2010 IWA Global Water Award


David Jenkins

Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, USA

Blanca Jiménez Cisneros

Professor National Autonomous University of Mexico

2008 IWA Global Water Award

Jim Gill

Water Corporation of Western Australia, Australia

Mark van Loosdrecht

Professor Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

2006 IWA Global Water Award

Daniel A Okun

Kenan Professor of Environmental Engineering Emeritus, University of Northern California, USA

Professor Daniel A. Okun, was hailed worldwide for his groundbreaking work in identifying pristine water sources (including Chapel Hill’s Cane Creek Reservoir), water management, water supply, pollution control, water reclamation and reuse, and watershed protection issues.

During his career, Okun worked in 89 countries and consulted with municipal and legislative planning committees throughout the United States. Among professor Okun’s many contributions, he helped design a water treatment plant in Bangkok, Thailand; establish a graduate program in sanitary engineering in Lima, Peru; and studied water supply and pollution control in China for the World Bank. At home in Chapel Hill, he led the campaign to build Cane Creek Dam and Reservoir in the 1980s to ensure the most pristine water source possible for Chapel Hill and the UNC campus. Learn more.

2004 IWA Global Water Award

Jamie Bartram

Coordinator: Water, Sanitation and Health, World Health Organization, Geneva

Jisong Wu

Director-General of Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Water Resources, China

Latest Updates

January 22, 2024
Pictured above: Award winners at the Opening Ceremony of the IWA 2022 World Water Congress & Exhibition, left to right: Kala Vairavamoorthy – IWA Exec...
January 19, 2024
Registration is now open for the highly anticipated World Water Congress & Exhibition 2024. This global event covering the entire water cycle will be held o...
January 17, 2024
IWA is pleased to announce details of the call for entries for the latest edition of the Project Innovation Awards (PIA). Awarded biennially at the IWA World Wa...
December 11, 2023
In the cover image, left to right: Tom Mollenkopf (IWA President) Dr Doulaye Kone, (Winner for Practice), Dr Veena Srinivasan (Winner for Research), Kala Vairav...