Call for submissions

Thought-provoking contributions

Submission deadline was 31 March 2019.

IWA’s Water and Development Congress series aims to catalyse transformational change and support transition to new ways of managing water resources and delivering water services. The Congress is explicitly solutions-focused, its performance indicators include the level of effective networking, knowledge exchange and the generation of new ideas shared by the participants.

Participants to the IWA’s Water and Development Congress can expect to leave the conference with new ideas and be inspired to take these back and share them with their colleagues or apply them in their own areas of work.

IWA is inviting proposals for technical papers and workshops/learning sessions related to the themes and topics listed below.

Technical Paper or Scientific abstract

A technical paper is a scientific abstract that summarizes these issues. Presenting is a valuable opportunity to meet members of the community of world-leading water professionals. It could be presented as an oral presentation or displayed as a poster.

Why submitting a technical paper?

  • You wish to validate and disseminate your work by presenting it as an oral presentation or as a poster display during a world class Congress;
  • If your submission is accepted for a platform presentation, it will also be reviewed for publication in one of the IWA Publishing journals, including: Water Research, Water Science and Technology: Water Supply or Water, Practice and Technology. The final decision on publication will be taken by the editors of the journal.
  • Congress delegates will receive a full set of electronic proceedings with the final programme and your paper or digital poster will be included there. (Note a formal proceedings book will not be published).

What to submit?

Your initial submission must be in the form of an outline paper: two A4 pages of text (approximately 1,000 words) plus up to two additional pages of tables/figures. This must persuasively summarise your proposed presentation. This must be uploaded to our online submission system before 15 March 2019

You may submit as many outline papers as you want. However, no individual can present more than two platform papers/poster – any further papers must be presented by one of the coauthors.

How are proposals selected?

Your submitted proposal will be peer reviewed by an Advisory Committee of international experts. Programme selections are based on the scores and comments of those experts. We expect 400–600 submissions, and presenter decisions will be announced in April 2019.

Your submission must clearly define the objectives, status, methodology, findings and significance of the investigation, study or practical session

Three fundamental questions determine whether a paper will be accepted onto the congress programme: Is the work novel? Is it correct and well presented? Is it interesting? To improve your chance of success, consider the following criteria.

  1. Ensure that your paper fits the thematic tracks and that it’s relevant for experts and non-experts.
  2. Submit original content. Describe breakthrough technology, new concepts, novel applications of established concepts, or improvements to existing theories (with new supporting data).
  3. Ensure that the work is well developed. If you can show concrete results that are well supported by data, your paper is more likely to be accepted.
  4. Clearly show how significant your work is. Your research must be relevant for your country, region or for other researchers and/or professionals working in your field.
  5. Prepare your outline with care, organise your material well, write clearly in plain English, prepare your graphics professionally, and make sure your information is accurate, up to date, and referenced.
  6. Commercial content will not be accepted for the scientific–technical programme as platform presentations or posters. However, this type of material is welcomed at the trade exhibition or perhaps in a business forum.

Workshop: Constructive discussion on a specific subject area

A workshop to make an impact is a meeting at which a group of people engages in intensive and constructive discussion and activity on a particular subject area or issue. There should ideally be a clear output from a workshop.

Why submitting a workshop proposal?

  • You are keen to contribute to the development of the water sector by preparing a highly interactive session that will engage fellow water professionals
  • You want to create in a session new inspiring solutions to the world’s water development challenges

How are proposals selected?

The programme advisory committee will review the workshop proposals on the basis of three key criteria and a few other criteria:

  1. Interactive Facilitation method (30 %).

There should be a clear distinction between workshops and the scientific-technical sessions of the Conference: workshops will not be approved if they simply replicate the full oral presentation sessions of the main programme. Possible methods to include Roundtable discussions, World Café Style, Individual/ group exercises or other format that facilitates lively and constructive discussion of an issue.

  1. Expected output (making an impact) (30 %)

The conference is aiming to make an impact, and is therefore interested to hear the expected output of your intensive and constructive discussion, as well as your proposed way to take this output further into the water sector.

  1. Subject (20%).

The subject areas is new, complex, rapidly evolving, potentially controversial, interdisciplinary, or in other circumstances in which discussion better contributes to delivering an output and making an impact.

And some other criteria (20%) listed in the template.

Anyone can submit a workshop proposal. However, the selection criteria will take into account the adequacy of the proposal to the rationale of the congress, the capability of organizing an enriching interactive opportunity to fellow delegates, and proposals that take into consideration the geographic, gender, age and knowledge diversity of the organisers.

Learning Session: Highly interactive sessions

A learning session to build leadership is a highly interactive session conduced to enable a group of people (trainees) to improve a trans-disciplinary skill that is relevant for personal and professional development.

Why submitting a learning session?

  • You are keen to promote your Learning, Training, or Education programme, or tool amongst a large group of delegates.
  • You are keen to build the capacity of a group of multi-disciplinary water professionals by teaching them a (new) transdisciplinary skill.

How to submit?

Read the guidance to see if your idea fits what the programme committee is requesting, fill out the template as accurately as possible, and submit prior to 5 January 2019.

How are sessions selected?

The programme committee will review the learning sessions on the basis of four key evaluation criteria:

  1. Learning objectives (30%). Clear description of what you want your participants to be able to do or demonstrate at the end of your session.
  2. Facilitation methods (30%). Two-way and interactive learning methods. Examples are interactive Learning – Case based exercises, individual / group exercises, inquiry-based learning, role playing, scenario planning, hands on learning – learning-by-doing, experiential learning, demonstration on-sight, simulation etc.
  3. Experience of organiser (20%). Proven experience and strength in delivering trainings/ learning sessions to develop the skill at hand.
  4. And some other basic criteria (20%) listed in the template such as English language.


The organizers are looking for

  • New, viable business models
  • New, emerging and evolving best practices
  • Experiences of successfully taking pilots to full scale
  • Capacity development with sustained results
  • Large scale investment models
  • Low-cost, low-energy technologies
  • Successful reform programmes


Technical and workshop sessions themes are below:

1. Drinking Water Treatment and Supply

    101 Efficient water treatment
    102 Off-grid water treatment. Technologies, implementation plans, business models…
    103 Advance treatment (including nanotechnologies and membranes…)
    104 Desalination for developing economies (including non seawater)
    105 Process control in Drinking Water Treatment
    106 Modelling of treatment processes
    107 Drinking water quality for human health (policies, regulations…)
    108 Off-grid solutions for water supply (including reuse)
    109 Integrated water supply
    110 Rain water harvesting as a water supply option
    111 Groundwater management (including replenishement)
    112 Non revenue water (including water losses)
    113 Intermittent Water Supply towards 24/7
    114 Water safety and security plans

2. Fecal sludge and Wastewater treatment for resource recovery

    201 Process control in Wastewater Treatment Plants
    202 Emerging contaminants (incl. antibiotic resistance, micropolutants, microplastics…)
    203 Co-treatment for resource recovery
    204 cost-effective approaches for pathogens destruction
    205 Industrial wastewater treatment and reuse. Industrial synergies and fit -for-purpose treatment solutions. (Inc. Mining)
    206 Water reuse (including direct potable reuse)
    207 Off-grid toilets and decentralized sanitation technologies
    208 Fecal sludge management (including pathogen destruction and resource recovery)
    209 Solids liquid separation for resource recovery
    210 Urban drainage and sewerege management
    211 OPEX/CAPEX and economic analysis fecal sludge and wastewater treatment, collection and transportation
    212 Financial viability of fecal sludge and wastewater utility operation
    213 Sanitation safety plans

3. City water and fecal sludge utility management and services

    301 Efficient services and performance assessment
    302 Corporate governance and human resources management (e.g. capacity building, gender gap, youth, culture…)
    303 Ensuring financially sustainable management of water utilities; short term vs long term decision making
    304 Long term decision making coping with uncertainties
    305 Energy and carbon efficiency
    306 Smart systems for utility management (including monitoring and digital transformation)
    307 Infrastructure asset management and planning (incl. finances, benchmarking, blue-green infrastucture)
    308 Customer relationships and social engagement
    309 Tariffs, equity, and affordability
    310 Managing fast growing urban areas (e.g. slum upgrading programmes, centralized vs decentralized systems…)
    311 Business, financial and investment opportunites in water services and water technologies (e.g. business plans in public utilities, new business models…)
    312 Business models, financing mechanisms for Resource recovery and reuse as integral options for City-Wide Inclusive Sanitation service models (CWIS)
    313 Institutional and regulatory frameworks, partnership constellations for sustainable sanitation management
    314 Behaviour change for new product and services for water and sanitation services.

4. Integrated Water Resource Management

    401 Integrated solutions for resilience (e.g. stakeholder engagement, nature base solutions in watersheds, Urban resilience & emergency response…)
    402 Floods prevention and management (including warning systems, stormwater tank, rain water harvesting
    403 Water scarcity and droughts management (including rainwater harvesting…)
    404 Urban and peri-urban agriculture (including treatment technologies, fit for purpose treatment solutions, regulations, reuse…)
    405 Water-energy-food nexus
    406 Footprinting and virtual water
    407 Basins scale management (e.g. business models for ensuring quantity/quality upstream,ensuring water security for different users, water quality in receiving water bodies…)
    408 Good governance and public participation
    409 Water policies, regulation, and multi stakeholder collaboration (including community base management)
    410 Climate change and responses from developing countries.

5. Efforts toward SDG Goal 6

    501 Major challenges to achieving SDG Goal 6
    502 South-South cooperation: sharing of affordable experiences and technologies
    503 SDG Goal 6: international cooperation and capacity building (including human resources needs, attracting and retaining talent to workforce, etc)
    504 SDG Goal 6: success stories and business models
    505 SDG Goal 6: innovative policies for inclusive sanitation services

Should you feel you have a contribution to make that addresses the questions posed above but not listed among the topics, should you have any other suggestions for the programme and/or any further questions, then please be in touch with the organizers via

Progamme Advisory Committee

The quality of the Water Development Congress & Exhibition is ensured by a Programme Advisory Committee formed by leading experts in water and development from around the world.

Members of the 2019 IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition Programme Advisory Committee are:

Doulaye Kone

Doulaye Kone (Chair)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United States (Bio…)

Ashok natarajan

Ashok Natarajan
Tamil Nadu Water Investment Company, India  (Bio…)


Buddhika Gunawardana
Moratuwa University, Sri Lanka

harsha (2)

Harsha Ratnaweera
Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway (Bio…)


Jay Bhagwan
Water Research Commission, South Africa (Bio…)


Manesh Jayaweera
Moratuwa University, Sri Lanka

Min Yang

Min Yang
Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Miriam Otoo

Miriam Otoo
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Ghana (Bio…)

Pallavi Bishnoi

Pallavi Bishnoi
Real Time Renewables, India

Rose Kaggwa

Rose Kaggwa
National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda (Bio…)

R Wheen

Rosie Wheen
WaterAid, Australia


S. Mohan
Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India (Bio…)

S K Weragoda

S.K. Weragoda
National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Sri Lanka (Bio…)

sofia castro

Sofia Castro


Tanuja Ariyananda
Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum, Sri Lanka (Bio…)

Thomas Panella

Thomas Panella
Asian Development Bank, Philippines

Join us in Sri Lanka! See you in...