May 26, 2021 Industry

Four inspiring water leaders win prestigious IWA Awards

Inspirational academic Marcos von Sperling (top left in the picture) has won the acclaimed IWA Global Water Award, during a presentation at IWA’s Digital World Water Congress. The award recognises an innovative leader who has made a significant contribution to a world in which water is wisely managed.

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.

Upon receiving the award, Marcos commented: “I am extremely happy and honoured to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. I come from Brazil, a country which faces huge challenges related to water and sanitation. So many countries have similar challenges, and require support from responsible and knowledgeable institutions. IWA continues to play a pivotal role in strengthening regional science, technology and practice, always taking into account local specificities.”

The IWA Women in Water Award, which celebrates the work of women in the field of water, has been won by sanitation advocate Nafisa Barot (bottom left in the picture). The award recognises the key role played by women, but also seeks to encourage greater inclusion and female leadership in the sector. Nafisa was recognised for using her role at NGO Utthan in Gujarat, India to influence people and policies around water, gender justice and sustainable development. .

Upon receiving the award, Nafisa commented: “Thank you for this award, which comes at a time of such acute crisis for all of us. I think back to 40 years ago, to a scene I’ve witnessed in Gujarat, India. I witnessed women and girls in violent conflict over a few cups of muddy water waiting to be scraped from the bottom of an open underground tank constructed by the government. Perhaps it was there, that I and my Utthan colleagues decided to respond not only to the agony but to the desperate hope of these communities to address the water issue, along with dignity and justice.”

Malaysian sewerage company Indah Water Konsortium (bottom right in the picture) won the IWA Professional Development Award for their exceptional record of developing talent in the sector. The award recognises a company whose activities strongly support the attraction, development and retention of young water leaders.

Narendran Maniam, Chief Executive Officer at Indah Water Konsortium added: “I am deeply honoured to be selected as the recipients of this award. As the national sewage company for Malaysia, we proudly serve the task of ensuring that Malaysians today and in the future can enjoy a clean and healthy environment with proper and well-maintained sewage facilities. Our top priority is to enhance knowledge and skills in this sector.”

Renowned scientist and engineer Dr Siddhartha Roy (top right in the picture) was recognised for winning the IWA Young Leadership Award, which had been announced earlier this year. The award is granted to an exceptional young water professional for their achievements, leadership and future potential.

During the plenary session, Dr Roy commented: “Fundamentally, this prize recognises scientific and humanitarian work by the Virginia Tech US Water Study Team with underserved communities like Flint, Michigan and others, to uncover unsafe water and environmental injustice.”

The winners of the IWA Awards were announced on 24 May 2021 during the opening ceremony of the Digital World Water Congress. The awards, held every two years, recognise the outstanding achievements of IWA members and water sector professionals.

The winners of the IWA Membership Awards will be announced at a plenary session during the opening of the second week of the Congress, on Tuesday 1 June 12:00-13:00 GMT. Login onto the platform and add the session to your agenda!