December 21, 2023 Membership

IWA’s new four-tier Individual membership fee structure

IWA is introducing a revised membership fee structure for Individual members. This will see the Individual fee structure change from being a two-tier structure to a four-tier structure.

The new structure in summary

IWA’s current structure has different fees for ‘high income’ and ‘low income’ countries. Membership is based on country of residence. The two-tier approach provides some reflection of local economic circumstances. The new four-tier system will have different fees for ‘high income’, ‘upper-middle income’, ‘lower-middle income’, and ‘low income’ countries. This will allow better alignment of fees with the economic status of each individual’s country of membership.

The new structure will be implemented seamlessly thanks to IWA’s membership platform, Connect Plus, which will apply the relevant fees automatically during joining or renewal on the platform.

Alignment with the World Bank’s classification

IWA’s current two-tier fee structure is an adaptation of the widely-recognised country income classifications of the World Bank (its Gross National Income database).

IWA’s ‘high income’ countries match those of the World Bank’s ‘High Income Country’ classification. IWA’s ‘low income’ countries include all other countries. This ‘low income’ category groups together the countries in the three remaining World Bank classifications: Upper Middle Income Countries, Lower Middle Income Countries, and Low Income Countries.

Under the new IWA fee structure, IWA’s four tiers will match the four World Bank groupings. This will ensure greater clarity and transparency with respect to a country’s placement in a tier.

Motivation for introducing the new structure

The revised structure is fairer both to members and to IWA and provides a more rational approach to charging of fees. Analysis of various indexes related to living standards and human development indicates against continuing to group the LIC, LMIC and UMIC in a single group, given the differences between these three groups. Furthermore, the difference between HIC and UMIC is not significantly different when compared with the differences that exist between LIC and LMIC and between LMIC and UMIC, which also indicates against continuing to include UMIC in our low income grouping.

Powered by IWA’s Connect Plus platform

The move to the improved structure has been enabled by IWA’s powerful new Connect Plus membership platform ( Thanks to the technology behind Connect Plus, implementation of four tiers has become a practical option for the first time. Countries will automatically be reclassified in Connect Plus as needed, should they move up or down in the GNI classification. The new fee structure is due to be rolled out in late January.

Full details of the fees and country classifications will be released shortly.