IWRA Congresses

IWRA organises and supports international water congresses and events related to advancing water resources knowledge, policy and management around the world.

About the IWRA World Water Congress

Since 1973, IWRA has held a World Water Congress every three years in various locations around the world.

The objective of the World Water Congress is to provide a meeting place to share experiences, promote discussion, and to present new knowledge, research results and new developments in the field of water sciences around the world. For almost four decades the World Water Congresses have been excellent events for the identification of major global themes concerning the water agenda, and for the bringing together of a large cross-section of stakeholders for the development and implementation of decisions in the field of water.

Over the last thirty years, the debates and discussions about global water issues have become increasingly important in scientific, professional and inter-governmental forums. The United Nations has overseen several conventions regarding water problems such as biodiversity, desertification and the Kyoto protocols. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have been established in order to plan, evaluate and harmonise development policies around the world. Water has been identified as a cross-cutting issue across the different Objectives and Goals of the MDGs. These conventions, meetings, engagements and debates arise from the shared knowledge and perspectives of the state, usage, key questions, future challenges and potential solutions in the field of fresh water resources. Despite the importance of this knowledge and a strong awareness of the issues, the world is still confronted with water resources issues that are characterised by:

• ever more significant water shortages
• an incapacity to offer universal access to safe drinking water
• a global deterioration in water quality
• diminishing financial means for water resources development
• a growing vulnerability to climate change and extreme natural events
• fragmented water management systems
• international legislation that is not well adapted to the resolution of transboundary conflicts.

It is established that action must be taken at the local level.

However, concerted efforts are also essential parallel to this at the regional and global level in order to achieve a significant and sustainable impact.

XVI World Water Congress in Cancun

The XVI World Water Congress was held in Cancun, Mexico from 29 May to 3 June 2017 and jointly organised by IWRA, the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA) and the National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities (ANEAS).