Applications are open for the third edition of the Climate Smart Utilities Recognition Programme

The International Water Association (IWA) is delighted to launch the third edition of the IWA Climate Smart Utilities Recognition Programme, whose results will be presented at the upcoming IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, Canada (11-15 August 2024).

Building upon the success of its previous editions, the recognition programme offers an excellent platform to present actions to an international audience, and share aspirations to achieve a climate smart water sector. This initiative seeks to recognise ambitious and innovative efforts towards a low-carbon water and sanitation sector by utilities that are embracing the need to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The 2024 edition is proudly supported by Xylem. 

Applications are now open until 20 May 2024.

This year’s edition will evaluate utilities under two categories:

Achievers: for utilities that have already made substantial progress in their Climate Smart journey and thus will be assessed based on a more detailed framework.

Entrants: for utilities that have prioritised the climate agenda and have started their Climate Smart journey (covering least one of the three interconnected pillars of Adaptation, Mitigation and Leadership) and therefore will be assessed through general narratives of their climate actions.

2024 Timeline

The following timeline for Climate Smart Utilities Recognition Programme  is anticipated:

Launch call for applications 11 April 2024
End of application period 20 May 2024
Jury reviews applications 22 May – 7 June 2024
Successful applications are selected and notified 12 June 2024
Recognition event 11-14 August 2024

Why Apply?

Following a rigorous evaluation process by a jury, successful applications will be formally recognised during the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, in front of a large audience of water sector professionals from around the world. A comprehensive financial incentive package covering flight expenses, conference registration fees, and accommodation in Toronto will be provided to one representative from the top three utilities in the Achiever category, and the top three utilities from low-, lower-middle- and upper-middle-income countries in the Entrant category.

Who can Apply?

Water and Sanitation Utilities are the primary applicants. In instances where different parts of the water system are managed by various utilities or municipal agencies in a metropolitan area, these can either:

  • Apply as a group, with a lead utility collecting contributions from other relevant utilities and agencies as co-applicants; or
  • Apply as Individual utilities, ignoring the sections not relevant to them. Other urban stakeholders (managing other parts of the water cycle, urban planning, energy, or waste) may be associated with the application as co-applicants.

Only water and sanitation utilities are to submit the application, either individually or collectively by a lead utility. Non-utility entities like research institutions or consultancies are not eligible for consideration.

What you will need to provide in your application

Applicants for both the Achiever and Entrant categories should present a 3-page narrative summarising their vision and the key actions taken towards being a Climate Smart Utility, highlighting anything exceptional that is undertaken concerning the 3-pillar definition proposed by IWA:

  • Adaptation: i.e., planning for adaptive infrastructure that combines centralised and decentralised approaches.
  • Mitigation: i.e., transitioning to being resource factories (e.g., production of biogas, resource recovery of nutrients) and reducing their GHG emissions.
  • Leadership: i.e., engaging citizens and industries in source control (e.g., reducing micropollutants in wastewater, protection of water sources) to reduce costs of treatment and the associated energy use, as well as in water reuse approaches to become more resilient to future water scarcity.

Under each pillar, three to four criteria are described in the Guidance Framework for the Application. The utility may select a few, or all these criteria to propose a self-evaluation narrative regarding 1) actions taken and their results, 2) actions in planning, and 3) gaps they are planning to address. If the narrative is selected for recognition, it will be the basis for preparing external communication pieces by IWA.

Utilities applying for the Achiever category should, in addition to the narrative above described, provide indicators related to three interconnected pillars for action: adaptation, mitigation, and leadership.

To learn more and apply, please visit: