IWA Women in Water Award


The IWA Women in Water award acknowledges and celebrates female leadership in the field of water. Through this award, the IWA recognises those women working in the field of water who, through their demonstrated leadership, have had a significant positive impact on the development of the industry.

The award showcases an individual’s excellence in leadership as demonstrated by outstanding initiatives, impact of work and inspiration to others. The award recognises the role women play in the sector, but also seeks to encourage the greater participation of women in the water sector and hopes to motivate more women to pursue leadership positions within the sector.

Call for nominations will reopen in due course, as part of the 2022 World Water Congress.


  • Demonstrable leadership within the sector which has had a positive impact on the advancement of water management
  • Demonstrable contributions towards the development of future leaders
  • Demonstrable contributions towards IWA and/or other water-related groups, Associations or institutions
  • Open to all women working in the water industry

How to nominate?

In order to nominate a peer to win the IWA Women in Water Award 2020, please submit online the reasons why the individual will qualify. To fill in the online form swiftly see below the different questions.


What information does the information process require?

Name, Affiliation, Country, Email address, Phone number

Write an executive summary outlining the main reason for the nomination (maximum 150 words).

How has your/your nominee’s leadership within the sector had a positive impact on the advancement of water management? (100 words)

What contributions have you/your nominee made towards the development of future leaders in the water sector? (100 words)

What contributions have you/your nominee made towards IWA and/or other water-related groups, associations or institutions? (100 words)

Am I allowed to nominate myself?

Self-nomination for the award is not permitted. You will need to be nominated by a peer to be eligible.

If the deadline is over and I forgot to submit a nomination. May I still send 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.

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

You are able to be nominated by others, however only one nomination will be considered.

I am based in a different country then my nominator(s). Are they still able to nominate me?

Yes, submission is open across different continents.

Am I able to send my nomination in a different language?

We are not able to receive a nomination from different languages. The only language we are able to get your submission is in English.

Do I need to submit my nomination via the nomination file?

We will only accept nominations that have a nomination file attached.  Any documents that do not follow the guidelines will not be accepted.

Past awardees

2020 IWA Women in Water Award

Nafisa Barot


Nafisa Barot is the winner of the 2020 IWA Women in Water Award. With four decades of experience in building and capacitating gender sensitive institutions for the empowerment of rural marginalized communities, Nafisa Barot is actively associated with the women’s and other people’s movements, influencing people and policies around water, gender justice and sustainable development. She is a founder-member of Utthan, an NGO based in Gujarat, India, that has a vast experience of mobilising women for better access to water.

Learn more about Nafisa Barot…

2018 IWA Women in Water Award

Akissa Bahri


Akissa Bahri is the winner of the 2018 IWA Women in Water Award 2018. The award acknowledges and celebrates female leadership in the field of water. The award showcases an individual’s excellence in leadership as demonstrated by outstanding initiatives, impact of work and inspiration to others.

Learn more about Akissa Bahri…

2016 IWA Women in Water Award

Rose Kaggwa

Rose Kaggwa is nominated as the recipient of the 2016 IWA Women in Water Award.  She has worked in various management levels within the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and is the Director of Business and Scientific Services. Rose is responsible for Capacity Development and Training, Research and Development and External Services which is the NWSC Consultancy arm. She has 24 years’ of experience in the water sector.

Rose has interfaced with various players in the water sector and has spearheaded partnerships in several countries that include: Bangaladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Zambia. She has been a key player in the various performance improvement approaches applied in the NWSC at both managerial and supervisory level and has led the NWSC consultancy unit for the last 10 years. She is the current Second President of the African Water Association Scientific and Technical Committee. She is Vice President of the UNESCO – IHP Advisory Committee for Human settlement, water and sanitation. Her passion is capacity development and raising the profile of women in the water and sanitation sector.

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Chemistry (Honours) from Makerere University, Uganda, a Master of Science degree in Water Quality Management, limnology and wetland ecology (with distinction) and a doctorate in Environmental Resources from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands.

2014 IWA Women in Water Award

Sue Murphy

Sue Murphy is the CEO of Water Corporation in Western Australia and is recognized in the industry as an innovative water manager and leader. Before her tenure as CEO for WaterCorp began in 2008, Sue had an impressive career both in the field as a site engineer and project manager and also in corporate roles with a focus on human resources, safety and engineering design management. In each year from 2009 to 2014, Sue has been listed in the top 100 most influential engineers in Australia by Engineers Australia.

2012 IWA Women in Water Award

Kusum Athukorala

Kusum Athukorala, Chair of NetWater and the Sri Lanka Water Partnership, was the recipient of the ‘2012 IWA Women in Water Award, recognising Ms. Athukorala’s long association with, and deep commitment to, gender-related issues in water.

Experienced in social science and rural development, Athukorala first started her work in water in 1988 at the former International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) – now the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). She worked in the participatory management of farmer organizations at a very early stage, at a time when such work was, in her own words, “anathema to many people.” It was then that she realized that much water-related work contributed by women went largely un-recognized. This prompted her to do a study on gender ideology titled, ‘Women and Irrigation’, which explored the access and control of resources by women and labor participation differentials.

Learn more… 

2010 IWA Women in Water Award

Cassilda Teixeira de Carvalho

President ABES, Brasil

Ms. Teixeira is a widely known and highly respected figure in Brazil, South America and internationally through IWA. She is a drinking water treatment specialist within the utility community of Brazil and long time Director of the Water Quality Committees of both ABES and AIDIS. Ms. Teixeira conceived and launched one of the most significant utility programs in Brazil – the Brazilian Award Programme for Water and Sanitation Management called PNQS. Tied to a utility benchmarking system also developed by Ms. Teixeira, this program has resulted in competition for excellence in many areas of utility management in Brazil. The consequences have been transformational for Brazil’s leading utilities. Ms. Teixeira’s exceptional leadership was endorsed by Brazil’s water industry through her election as the current president of ABES, Brazil’s principal water association, and through her service on the IWA Board of Directors during the period 2008-2010.

2008 IWA Women in Water Award

Dr Joan Rose

Michigan State University professor

Joan B. Rose holds the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University in the Depts of Fisheries & Wildlife and Plant, Soil and Microbiological Science. and currently leads of the Global Water Pathogens Project in partnership with UNESCO www.waterpathogens.orghttp://www.rose.canr.msu.edu/.  She is the winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize.   She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She currently serves on the EPA Science Advisory Board for the Great Lakes. Dr. Rose served as the Chair of the Health Related Water Microbiology Specialist Group for the IWA from 2003 to 2010. Elected as a Fellow to the International Water Association, 2010 and as Distinguished Fellow in 2014.   Dr. Rose has served on the Strategic Council for the IWA from 2011-2015 and is Vice Chair of the US National Committee for the IWA.   She received the first International Water Association Hei-jin Woo Award for Achievements of Women in the Water Profession, 2008

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