IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition 2017

Sustainable solutions for emerging economies

To achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 6 of ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, will require a massive effort by the water and sanitation practitioners, especially those in low and middle income countries. We are beyond a simple model of expanded investment in infrastructure, there are numerous challenges and they are linked in often complex ways. For example, progress in the sector is significantly hampered by an overall shortage of appropriately skilled people in the workforce. IWA has published a preliminary analysis from 15 countries in 2014. Developing and emerging economies have made efforts to cope with the challenges, training, establishing competency frameworks, organizational development and implementing institutional frameworks. This is only one issue for which the fifth Water and Development Congress & Exhibition creates an opportunity to share, mutually reinforce and accelerate work in progress.


The overarching goal of IWA’s Water and Development Congress series is to catalyse transformational change and support transition to new ways of managing water resources and delivering water services. The Congress is explicitly solutions-focused, based on the already well-documented diagnosis of constraints, challenges and problems in the sector. Performance indicators for these conferences include the level of effective networking, knowledge exchange and the generation of new ideas shared by the participants. Success is expressed as numbers of participants who can leave the conference with new ideas and inspired to take these back to their colleagues and own areas of work.

Transformational change is needed to transition to a water-wise world through a wise implementation of the SDGs. Participants will be asked to learn about and share solutions at four levels:

  1. Enhancing water and sanitation services,
  2. Strengthening the role of water in city design,
  3. Fostering the connection between cities and basins, and
  4. Promoting the engagement of people so they are enabled to take action.

These four levels of actions are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. The breakdown allows for the challenges to be tackled one by one, while keeping a holistic approach. Five building blocks for implementation – vision, governance, capacity, planning tools, and financing & contracting tools – will be covered throughout the different sessions, so that participants may plan their learning experience based on what they need the most.


1. Efficient Utilities as Drivers for Sustainable Development

  • Strengthening corporate governance
  • Bridging the “awareness gap” between short-term decision-making and long-term water infrastructure investment
  • Sharing experiences in utility turnaround
  • Inducing willingness to pay
  • Implementing innovative tools for utility management
  • Updating status and trends in the introduction of water safety planning and sanitation safety planning
  • Instilling a “business planning culture” in public utility management
  • Reducing energy consumption (and carbon footprints)
  • Investing in the catchment to reduce costs in water supply treatment
  • Recovering water for reuse
  • Integrating human rights principles and criteria into utility business plans
  • Reducing wastage through a systems approach considering the urban water cycle as a whole
  • Sharing efficient and effective utility capacity building experiences
  • Promoting efficient service delivery
  • Investing in adequate wastewater treatment technology
  • Defining levels of service and assessing performance
  • Defining service levels to achieve human rights to water and sanitation
  • Planning and implementing fit-for-purpose water and wastewater treatment solutions
  • Delivering capacity building of water operators and professionals in different regions
  • Providing an overview of the regional arsenic contamination / arsenic removal technologies
  • Promoting virtual water management
  • Sharing sea water desalination experiences
  • Developing leadership – diversity, inclusiveness and vision
  • Recovering resources from wastewater
  • Developing adequate fecal sludge management
  • Influencing water demand
  • Novel financing mechanisms enabling effective and efficient systems

2. Operation and Maintenance of Water and Sanitation Systems for a “Replenished” Water and Social Environment

  • Planning asset management and financing capex and opex, a key issue to ensure the performance of the service
  • Sharing experiences of collaboration between utilities to improve capacities and competences
  • Implementing sanitation safety planning for fecal sludge management
  • Managing drinking water quality for safeguarding environmental and public health
  • Managing sewage overflows
  • Improving treated wastewater discharge and water quality of receiving water bodies
  • Applying human rights criteria to O&M
  • Developing material and design criteria aimed at reducing costs and construction period for network expansion
  • Achieving 24×7 water supply
  • Reducing water losses

3. Integrating Water in City Planning and Design

  • Using blue, green and grey infrastructure to increase urban resilience
  • Planning to take advantage of water synergies between different industries and services in the urban environment
  • Considering modular and/or decentralized solutions to increase urban water efficiency
  • Replenishing groundwater
  • Planning to respond to rapid urban population growth
  • Promoting environmental, social and health impact assessment of blue prints for urban water and sanitation development
  • Rainwater harvesting and reuse

4. Connecting Basins and the Cities/Towns that depend on them - the Interface between Custodians and Users

  • Leveraging nature-based solutions in watersheds and micro-watersheds
  • Sharing water resources with other users across the basin: tools and methods
  • Protecting downstream water quality: tools and methods
  • Preparing for extreme events with urban and basing integrated solutions
  • Increasing resilience through water and resource efficient urban and peri-urban agriculture
  • Increasing resilience through water- and resource-efficient urban and peri-urban industries
  • Protecting water quality and availability through improved urban and peri-urban agriculture and industrial practices
  • Managing exchange of financial and water resources between urban users and basin stewards
  • Connecting nature conservation and integrated water resources management
  • Engaging cities, utilities, industry and local communities in basin management
  • Increasing resilience through social capital
  • Internalising water use costs in products, goods and commodities
  • Managing the water-energy-food nexus
  • Raising the gender profile in urban/rural (basin) interactions
  • Putting into place flood warning systems
  • Integrating urban water bodies to enhance liveability
  • Ensuring water security to satisfy present and future needs
  • Connecting wastewater planning with basin management
  • Exploring water supply options in remote areas Stormwater control preventing flooding and contamination

5. Water Policies, Regulations and Multi-stakeholder Collaboration

  • Harmonizing institutions, policies and regulations: the need for holistic interventions
  • Defining the role of regulation in meeting the SDGs
  • Enabling reuse & recovery from the technical, institutional and financing/contracting angle
  • Developing water security during extreme events
  • Promoting water and sanitation systems and services in slum upgrading programmes
  • Strengthening the capacity of entrepreneurs to offer water and sanitation services in rural and peri-urban areas
  • Implementing pro-poor approaches
  • Defining tariffs, balancing affordability and cost recovery
  • Initiating and maintaining multi-stakeholder collaboration to achieve improved services
  • Fostering political & social engagement in water issues
  • Presenting the Argentina National Water Plan: benchmark and international discussion & input
  • Attracting talent and skills to water and sanitation jobs
  • Engaging youth as part of succession planning
  • Ensuring policy, legislation, regulation and funding mechanisms that foster urban water and sanitation for all
  • Highlighting regional preparation and contribution towards 2018 World Water Forum
  • Fostering good governance and public participation
  • Moving on equality, non-discrimination and gender balance in water policies and regulations
  • Making hard investment choices: improving treated waste water quality to protect the environment or connecting people without sanitation service?
  • Ensuring financial sustainability to achieve universal access and service goals


The IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition is a unique opportunity to network with the world’s best development water professionals. Join selected opportunities to engage with specific communities of the IWA network. The welcome reception and gala dinner provide the opportunity to engage and network. And if you are interested in sponsoring an event during our 4 day programme please send an email to keith.robertson@iwahq.org.

Who will attend?

  • Practitioners – Utility managers and consultants
  • Governments
  • International organisations
  • NGOs
  • Academics
  • Financial institutions

Progamme Advisory Committee

Robert Bos (Chair), Independent Consultant, Water, Sanitation, Health and Environment, Switzerland

Daniel Nolasco (Vice-Chair), NOLASCO y Asociados S. A., Argentina

  • Eleanor Allen, Water for People, USA
  • Victor Arroyo, CAF-Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina, Venezuela
  • Patricia Bakir, Independent Consultant, Jordan
  • Corinne Cathala, Inter-American Development Bank, USA
  • Ana Colombo, AySA, Argentina
  • Paul Fanner, Miya, UK
  • Philip Giantris, Valu Add Management Services, Albania
  • Olivier Gosso, SODECI Société de Distribution d’Eau de la Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast
  • Rose Kaggwa, National Water & Sewerage Corporation, Uganda
  • Dinesh Mehta, CEPT University (Emeritus Professor), India
  • Téofilo Monteiro, Pan American Health Organization, Peru
  • Oscar Pintos, ADERASA, Argentina
  • Gustavo Saltiel, World Bank, Peru
  • Marcos von Sperling, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Christian Taylor, AySA, Argentina
  • Uta Wehn, UNESCO – IHE, The Netherlands

Steering Committee

  •  IWA, Keith Robertson, Roy Agterbos and Michelle Albert
  •  Undersecretary for Water Resources – Ministry of the Interior, Public Works and Housing, Pablo Bereciartua
  • AySA, José Luis Inglese
  • IDB, Corinne Cathala from D.C. and Henry Moreno from Buenos Aires.


The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at time of publication. The organisers reserve the right to alter or remove information as circumstances dictate. The organisers reserve the right to alter or remove the programme as circumstances dictate. The organisers take no responsibility for any errors, omissions or changes. The organisers assume no responsibility for opinions or facts expressed by contributors to the programme. The organisers take no responsibility for engagements taken by any parties based on information related to the congress such as travel arrangement or others. Any changes to the programme will be published on the website and on the Congress app at the earliest possible opportunity.

About the IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition

The IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition is a biannual event that gathers the leading water professionals with a focus in development solutions. Water solutions require diversity and knowledge to reach a water wise world.

The world is facing floods and droughts. The growing population, economic development and impacts of climate change such as extreme weather are increasing the demand on water. Water scarcity makes people sick, reduces productivity and increases gender inequality. Visit the last edition of the IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition.

IWA is a global organization that works with an interdisciplinary network of water professionals and partners to create a water wise world. Our experts collaborate and combine their knowledge to spread practical know-how throughout the entire water cycle to help us reduce, reuse, and replenish water resources.