World water congress


Since its creation, IWRA recognises the contributions towards water management and the excellence of water researchers, professionals and organisations. IWRA presents 5 main awards.

Crystal Drop Award

For individuals or organisations in recognition of their laudable contribution to the improvement of the world’s water situation. The Crystal Drop Award is awarded once every three years and presented at the IWRA World Water Congress organized by IWRA.

The 2020 recipient of the Crystal Drop Award was Doğan Altinbilek.

Doğan received this award during the XVII World Water Congress in Daegu, Korea (29 November – 3 December 2021).

Previous Recipients

2017: Hilda Cecilia Tortajada Quiroz and Salman M. A. Salman
2015: Vijay P. Singh
2011: International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
2008: Mahmoud Abu-Zeid
2005: Malin Falkenmark
2003: Benedito Braga
2000: Yutaka Takahasi
1997: Rotary International
1994: Asit K. Biswas
1991: Yahia Abdel Mageed
1988: UNEP and its Executive Director Dr. Mostafa Kamal (joint award)
1985: UNICEF

Ven Te Chow Memorial Award and Lecture

IWRA has established a Chow Memorial Lecture programme to honour its first president as well as provide for an outstanding lecture, to be delivered at its triennial World Water Congresses.

IWRA has offered the Ven Te Chow Memorial Award and Lecture since 1988 in the name of the great hydrologist who was also the Association’s founder and first president.

The award in 2020 went, fittingly, to Prof. Dr. Soontak Lee.  He is presently a Distinguished Professor / Professor Emeritus of Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering of Yeungnam University, Korea. He is also a Honorary Governor of the World Water Council (WWC) and President of the International Hydrologic Environmental Society (IHES). Prof. Lee has been engaged as a Co-Chair of the International Scientific Committee (ISC) of the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu-Gyeongbuk Korea in 2015, as well as a Chairperson and President of the UNESCO-IHP Intergovernmental Council from 2010 to 2012. He has obtained four Doctoral degrees, Ph.D., D.Sc., Hon. D. Eng. Sc. & Hon. Dr. Tech. Sc. More information:

Previous Recipients

2017: V. P. Singh
2015: Rabi Mohtar
2011: Peter H. Gleick
2008: John Pigram
2005: Benedito Braga
2003: Asit K. Biswas
2000: Janusz Kindler
1997: Glenn E. Stout
1996: Ben Chie Yen
1994: Andras Szollosi-Nagy
1991: Malin Falkenmark
1988: Vujica M. Yevjevich

Water Drop Award

The Water Drop Award recognises since 2020 a student or early career professional, typically under the age of 35, who has made an innovative contribution to the water sector. These contributions may include, but are not limited to ground breaking recent research on water issues, entrepreneurship in the water sector, and raising the profile of younger people in the water sector.

In 2020, the first Water Drop Award went for its first time ever to Laura Movilla Pateiro. Dr. Laura Movilla Pateiro is a lecturer in Public International Law at the University of Vigo, Spain. Her main field of research is international water law, with a particular focus on the law of transboundary aquifers. More information:

Water International Best Paper Award

The Best Paper Award and honourable mention are awarded by year to author(s) based on the originality, innovation, technical quality, and contribution to water resources management of an article appearing in Water International.

IWRA awardees during the XVII World Water Congress in Daegu, on November 29, 2021



Water security and the pursuit of food, energy, and earth systems resilience
Christopher A. Scott, Tamee R. Albrecht, Rafael De Grenade, Adriana Zuniga-Teran, Robert G. Varady, and Bhuwan Thapa
Water International, 43.8, 1055-1074. Doi 10.1080/02508060.2018.1534564

“Hotel Middle East”: social shocks and adaptation in Jordan’s domestic water sector
Natasha Westheimer, Michael Gilmont, and Troy Sternberg
Water International, 44.4, 444-462. Doi 10.1080/02508060.2019.1622277

The devil’s in the details: data exchange in transboundary waters.
Patience Mukuyu, Jonathan Lautze, Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Davison Saruchera, and Matthew McCartney
Water International, 45:7-8, 884-900. Doi 10.1080/02508060.2020.1850026

Other Special Awards

Institutions that are responsible for water resources management are the frontline for delivering this precious resource for the people and for ensuring the protection of the environment. Faced with constantly changing needs and pressures, the provision of good water management means the integration of sound knowledge and good science with appropriate policies and efficient implementation. This award seeks to recognise regional, national or local institutions that have exhibited sustained excellence in water resources management. The award seeks to share and promote the associated experiences and knowledge with other organisations, scientists and water professionals around the world to improve sustainable and equitable water management.

The Prize

The award was given during the awards ceremony held during the IWRA World Water Congress. It was in the form of a special plaque with a certificate and presented to the representative of the awarded institution.

XV World Water Congress Special Award for Excellence in Water Resources Management

The special award was presented at the XV World Water Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. There were two awardees:

The Scottish Government


50th Anniversary Awards

On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary, IWRA created the 50th Anniversary Awards to mark the milestone. These awards were given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the growth of the Association, positioning IWRA as a source of thought leadership and water knowledge, raising youth awareness of the water issues, and the profile of young professionals in IWRA. The winners were announced during the XVII World Water Conference, from November 29th to December 3rd, 2021, in Daegu, Rep. of Korea.

To honour the people who have served and supported the mission of IWRA over the past half-century, the 50th Anniversary Committee established the following five award categories listed below. Following a call for nominations, the winners were selected by the Awards Committee (Rabi Mohtar, Christina Leb, Majduline El-Tahir and Renée Martin-Nagle).

  • Global Reach to recognize those who helped IWRA achieve a global presence – James Nickum / Malin Falkenmark
  • Foundation to recognize key members of staff who volunteered their time – Ben Dziegielewski
  • Past to recognize those who were most influential in IWRA’s early years – Cecilia Tortajada / Hiroshi Hori
  • Present to recognize those who have been most influential in recent years – Salman Salman / Gary Jones • Future to recognize those who are expected to lead
  • IWRA into the future – Bassel Daher.


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