IWA Project Innovation Awards

Awarded biennially at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, the Project Innovation Awards recognise and promote excellence and innovation in water management, research and technology.

Water underpins every aspect of human and environmental existence. The severe water challenges facing the world today require an unprecedented global response. Innovation plays a central role in achieving IWA’s vision of a world in which water is managed wisely to satisfy the needs of human activities and ecosystems in an equitable and sustainable way.

The Project Innovation Awards recognise that our shared challenges can be overcome through the development and implementation of creative water solutions.



Call for preliminary submissions open

23 FEB

Preliminary submissions deadline


Full submissions open (invited only)

10 MAY 

Full submissions deadline (invited only)

PIA categories

There are six Project Innovation Awards categories, with each category to celebrate excellence in a specific field within the water sector. An esteemed panel of experts will assess submissions from each category. The winner in each category will be awarded a gold medal, and the two runners-up will receive silver and bronze medals. Gold medal winners will be considered for the IWA Grand Innovation Award.

1. Market-changing Water Technology & Infrastructure

This award celebrates innovations in water & wastewater technologies and infrastructure, which embrace forward-thinking applications and solutions to advance clean and safe water goals. These solutions can range from specific technologies to innovative approaches.

2. Breakthroughs in Research and Development

Research is the powerhouse of disruptive and breakthrough innovation. This award celebrates research that is challenging existing markets and addressing future needs to create new opportunities. It is open to the research of all types, as well as early-stage business projects that are not yet market-ready.

3. Governance, Institutions and Social Enterprise

This award celebrates social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship and their contribution to sustainable water management. In addition, it recognizes innovations in governance and institutional transitions and the role this plays in supporting the circular and digital water economies.

4. Performance Improvement and Operational Solutions

Original thinking is essential for overcoming long-term challenges and delivering solutions for the future. This award celebrates new and innovative approaches that improve performance, efficiency, resilience and sustainability in water operations and maintenance.

5. Exceptional Project Execution and Delivery

Innovation in the execution of water projects is critical for the sector. This award celebrates projects that developed and implemented: creative practices during their execution; excellent client relationships beyond expectations; outstanding responses to unexpected difficulties.

6. Smart Systems and the Digital Water Economy

This award celebrates digital solutions with the potential to reshape the water sector. Harnessing and aligning this technology between the physical and digital worlds, creates a smarter way of managing and protecting water resources and building a water-wise society.

Could you be an IWA Project Innovation Award winner?

The Project Innovation Awards are open to applications from individuals, companies, organisations, and public bodies.

Have you been part of a team working on an inspiring, innovative and impactful water project? Has your organisation collaborated on or led a project that has had a significant, positive and demonstrable impact? Then you could be one of our next IWA Project Innovation Award winners!

If you are interested in learning more, download the 2024 Call for Entries here. Submissions are now closed.


Who is eligible to enter the PIA?

The PIAs are open to applications from individuals, companies, organisations, public bodies or any combination of the above. Applicants do not have to be member of IWA.

What are the judging criteria?

In every category we look for original, innovative projects that provide long-term value to the water sector. Successful submissions should demonstrate how the project supports the transition to a water-wise world, the complexity of the problem or situation and the performance against budgetary and timeframe constraints. In addition to these general indicators, specific criteria will apply to each category as set out in the category descriptions.

If the deadline is over and I forgot to submit a nomination. May I still sent my nomination to be considered for an awards?

If the nomination for the award is closed. It means that the judging process has started. If you did not submit your nomination yet, unfortunately it won’t be possible to be considered for the award.

Are we allowed to nominate for more than one category?

You are able to submit a nomination for different awards categories as long as they are different projects.

What language can submissions be made in?

Unfortunately we are only able to consider submissions made in English. Please do not submit your project in other languages as these submissions will not be considered.

Celebrate in style at the PIA Gala in Toronto, Canada

The biennial global Project Innovation Awards will next be celebrated on 13 August 2024 in Toronto, in front of an expert audience of water leaders from around the world. The gala event is one of the centrepieces of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, taking place on 11-15 August.

An inspiring evening will celebrate those water professionals expanding the boundaries of excellence in the sector. The awards night will be a place where you can meet the teams behind the winning projects; network with world-renowned experts across the field of water management, science and practice; and hear the stories of the winning projects and innovations.

This will be a night to be inspired at a beautiful venue in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

WHEN: Tuesday, 13 August 2024
DRESS CODE: Cocktail attire

Check out the pictures from the PIA Gala Event in Copenhagen, September 2022


2022 edition sponsored by


On 13 September, a the 2022 IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, the water sector celebrated outstanding innovation and leadership in the industry with a gala ceremony for the 18 winners of the six categories of the IWA Project Innovation Awards.

The 13th IWA Project Innovation Awards attracted a record 203 applications from 52 countries. the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant from Singapore has won the Grand Innovation Award.

Find out more about Keppel Seghers and the other 2022 winners.


The 2018 Project Innovation Awards were celebrated on 17 September 2018 at a prestigious gala event in Tokyo at the 2018 IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition, in front of an audience of water leaders from around the world. 

Check the 2018 winners

The Kiran and Pallavi Patel Grand Innovation Award

Celebrating and recognising groundbreaking innovations and achievements in the water industry worldwide, the coveted Kiran and Pallavi Patel Grand Innovation Award 2018 is presented to an outstanding example of innovation in the water sector.

An expert panel of judges selected the winner of the Kiran and Pallavi Patel Grand Innovation Award 2018 from amongst the six gold medal winners of the Project Innovation Awards.


On 12 October 2016, water professionals from across the globe came together to celebrate outstanding water innovators at the Rydges South Bank in Brisbane, Australia, for the tenth anniversary edition of the IWA Project Innovation Awards.

The 2016 PIA Grand Award was awarded to Rand Water for their project “Let’s be Water Wise”. 

Find out more about Rand Water’s project and the other 2016 award-winners.

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...