IWA Project Innovation Awards

Call for nominations is open!



Full submission deadline

30 JUN

Finalists notified

20 OCT

Award ceremony

Awarded biennially at the IWA World Water Congress, the Project Innovation Awards recognise and promote excellence and innovation in water management, research and technology. Now in their 13th year, the awards are presented at a prestigious gala event in front of an audience of water leaders from around the world.

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 nominations for the 2020 IWA Project Innovation Awards

We are now inviting preliminary submissions for the 2020 edition for the following categories:

  • Market-changing Water Technology & Infrastructure;
  • Breakthroughs in Research and Development;
  • Governance, Institutions, and Social Enterprise;
  • Performance Improvement and Operational Solutions;
  • Exceptional Project Execution and Delivery;
  • Smart Systems and the Digital Water Economy.

How to Apply ?

1. Preliminary Submissions  – deadline 6 April 2020 – Submit your contact details and a 400 word summary of the project.
The preliminary submissions will be validated, after which you will receive further instructions on what to include in the full submission. Throughout April, the assessment of the preliminary submissions will take place.
2. Full Submission (deadline 1 June 2020) – In the full submission phase submitters will be asked to prepare a detailed project submission including information such as the project context, timeframe, objectives, strategy, scale, outcome and resulted achieved. Additionally, submitters will be asked to provide supporting documents, at least two testimonial letters, as well as additional images of the project.

3. Award applicants selected as medal winner (finalists) will be informed by 30 June 2020;

4. The Project Innovation Awards Gala Ceremony will take place at the Moltkes Palais, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 20 October 2020.


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!

Award categories

There are six Project Innovation Awards; each category celebrates 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 two runners-up will receive silver and bronze medals.

Winning projects

Gold, bronze and silver medals will be awarded for each project category. The gold medal winners will automatically advance to the global awards round to compete for the Kiran and Pallavi Patel Grand Innovation Award 2018.

The Kiran and Pallavi Patel Grand Innovation Award 2018

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 will select the winner of the Kiran and Pallavi Patel Grand Innovation Award 2018 from amongst the six gold medal winners of the Project Innovation Awards.

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. 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.

3. 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 research of all types, as well as early stage business projects that are not yet market-ready.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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.

2016 IWA 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”. 

Click here to find out more about Rand Water’s project and the other 2016 award-winners.

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