The leading water sector network

Gathering water professionals with leading practitioners, researchers, and policy makers to understand challenges, solutions and development opportunities in other regions of the world is the aim of the IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition.

Bringing together water science and research with the public and private sectors, financial institutions and policy makers, to drive water cooperation and water solutions that can be applied globally, the IWA Development Congress features a mix of workshops, seminars, plenary sessions, side events, award ceremonies, poster sessions and an exhibition programme.


Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sustainable Solutions for emerging economies

In November 2017, Argentina hosted the International Water Association’s Water and Development Congress & Exhibition, one of the most important events globally in the field of water and sanitation. In addition to the excellent news for Argentina, as this event represents an opportunity to showcase the country’s new policies aimed at gaining efficiency in the management of public services and the commitment to the improvement of water and sanitation services, this Conference is also a great opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Latin America and the Caribbean have made good, but insufficient, progress in terms of access to water and sanitation over the last two decades, measured by the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Today, more than 110 million people in the region lack of adequate sanitation solutions and more than 30 million lack of access to safe water. In factual terms, the situation of water and sanitation services in LAC is more critical than what MDGs achievements showed. The goals for the new and ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impose a great challenge on governments, water and sanitation utilities and the community.

Water professionals vision

Innovative financing mechanisms to meet SDG6 target

IWA Development Award for Water Research 2017 WINNER

Exhibition of sustainable solutions for water and sanitation


Dead Sea, Jordan

Water security for sustainable growth

Organised by the International Water Association (IWA) in Jordan from 18 – 22 October, the Congress features a range of topics and a diverse set of viewpoints from global water leaders. Agenda setting Keynote Speakers will daily set the tone and address the key opportunities to finding solutions for global water challenges.

The development paradigm is evolving quickly beyond established boundaries. Failing states, slowly developing countries, developing and emerging economies see large differences in their models and stages of progress. This is reflected at the national and sub-national level in areas of stability, development and growth alternating with areas of instability, under-development and stagnation. A diverse set of factors underlie the differences in development across continents and nations. In whatever form, they make up a complex context within which water resources are managed and water, sanitation and wastewater services are delivered. The potential and contribution of water management to development in this diverse set of situations varies greatly.

Themes discussed at #DevelopmentCongress

Connecting the world of water professionals

Nanotechnology for a sustainable water future

The business dimension to water


Nairobi, Kenya

The IWA Development Congress & Exhibition Nairobi, held in Nairobi, Kenia 14th-17th October 2013 was one of IWA’s main biennial events addressing urban water management issues in low and middle income countries. The Congress attracted 1056 delegates working as water professionals for companies and institutions.

The overarching goal of IWA’s Development Congress series was to identify, showcase and debate practical experiences and examples of service provision in developing countries that ‘work’, and critically, ‘work at large scale’. The Congress was therefore explicitly solutions focused, rather than diagnosing the challenges and problems in the sector, which are already well documented.

Within this framework, the themes and topics of the Congress were relevant to the arena in which most progress in terms of coverage and implementation solutions must be made: urban service provision in low and middle income countries. The overarching theme for the 2013 Development Congress and Exhibition was Catalysing Urban Water Transitions.


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Communities and water professionals in developing countries face challenges in the delivery of safe, clean drinking water and sanitation services. The International Water Association hosted 800 like-minded professionals to attend the 2nd IWA Development Congress and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2011.

The aim of the congress was to build bridges between people working in different regions, in different organizations and with different approaches to water and sanitation service delivery in low- and middle-income countries.


  • Smart technological solutions
  • Financing options and opportunities
  • Sustaining investments in infrastructure
  • Solutions for operators and utilities
  • Innovative capacity strengthening mechanisms
  • Community engagement and planning processes.


Mexico City, Mexico

The IWA Development Congress and Exhibition is the pre-eminent water and sanitation event for the developing world. It is run by the International Water Association (IWA) every second year and has a specific focus on solutions. The first development congress was held in Mexico in 2009.

The aim of the congress is to build bridges between people working in different regions, in different organizations and with different approaches to water and sanitation service delivery in low- and middle-income countries.

Learn more

Organised by: International Water Association (IWA) and the Universidad Nacional Antonoma de Mexico (UNAM)

This first IWA Development Congress focused on what works in water and sanitation service provision in developing countries. There were technical presentations, coupled with peer-based workshops, an awards programme, book launches, exhibition space, poster presentations, social and networking receptions and technical tours.

The focus of congress was on smart solutions for financing and infrastructure, utility management, institutional development, regulations and policy.

It brought together 1,000 international water and sanitation professionals including researchers, practitioners, policy makers, consultants, manufacturers, technology suppliers and members of the international development community.

Workshops of special interest include:

  • Disaster Response & Recovery (IWA / Unicef / USAID)
  • Household water treatment and safe storage (USAID)
  • Assurance of supply and sustainability (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre)
  • Water Safety Plans (LAC-WSP-Net/IWA / USEPA / AIDIS / CDC / PAHO / US State Dept)
  • Mechanisms of knowledge sharing: from networks to IT Tools (WRC)
  • O&M for Sustainable Management of Water Supply and Sanitation Services (O&M Network, IWA, WHO and NIPH)
  • Wastewater treatment in developing countries (IWA)
  • Water Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (Water Integrity Network – WIN)
  • SWASH+ (School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Plus Community Impact) – (Water for People)
  • Water testing in resource poor settings – Aquatest Research Programme
  • Water Operators Partnerships (IWA / UN-HABITAT)