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 2017 recipients of the Crystal Drop Award were Hilda Cecilia Tortajada Quiroz and Salman M. A. Salman.

They both received this award during the XVI World Water Congress in Cancun, Mexico.

Previous Recipients

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 program to honor 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 2017 went, fittingly, to one of the great internationally recognized water engineer-hydrologists of our era, Professor V. P. Singh, Distinguished Professor and Caroline and William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering at Texas A & M University. Prof. Singh has published nearly 900 journal articles; 25 textbooks; 57 edited books; and 104 book chapters in the area of hydrology and water resources. He has received more than 70 national and international awards, including the IWRA Crystal Drop in 2015. His work is on the cutting edge of innovative research. His lecture on “Challenges in meeting water security and resilience” is appropriately timely and critical.

Previous Recipients

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

IWRA Distinguished Lecture Award

Every year, one distinguished member is invited to give this lecture at an IWRA sponsored conference.

Water International Best Paper Award

Awarded annually to author(s) based on originality, innovation, technical quality, and contribution to water resources management.

2012, 2013 Best Paper awardees during the gala dinner of the XV World Water Congress in Edinburgh, on Thursday, May 28th, 2015


We take the nomination of Best Paper and honourable mention very seriously, so the selection process is a bit elaborate. A short list of candidate papers is drawn up by the editors of Water International, reviewed by the IWRA Publications Committee, and forwarded to the WI Editorial Board, which selects a candidate or candidates. These are then forwarded to the IWRA Awards Committee and from there to the President and the Executive Board for final approval. Selection of best papers is based on relevance, rigor, impact and any other factors deemed important by members of the Editorial Board “jury”.

Certificates were given to the winning authors’ representatives at IWRA’s XVI World Water Congress, held in Cancun, Mexico, from May 29th to June 3rd, 2017.

From the 2015 issues we had one best paper, and one paper that deserved honorable mention.


The wining papers are selected from all papers published in the last three volumes of the IWRA official journal, Water International (WI). Nomination is made by a jury of the Editorial Board of WI and vetted through the Awards Committee of IWRA.
China’s southbound transboundary river basins: a case of asymmetry

Mirja Kattelus, Matti Kummu, Marko Keskinen, Aura Salmivaara & Olli Varis

An overview is presented of the contemporary societal and environmental development situation in the six major transboundary river basins that drain south from China: the Red River, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Indus. The overall societal and environmental vulnerability of the basins is assessed using multidimensional river basin vulnerability analysis. The analysis shows that while China has a fairly low level of vulnerability in these basins, its downstream influence is substantial. This setting offers a plethora of opportunities for transboundary cooperation and calls for a high level of responsibility from the upstream riparian countries.

This paper is a product of the Water and Development Research Group (WDRG) at Aalto University, Finland. Mirja Kattelus is Junior Professional Expert, Water Services Trust Fund, Nairobi, Kenya, and a newly minted (2017) D.Sc. from the university. Matti Kummu is Assistant Professor at Aalto. Marko Keskinen is University Lecturer and researcher there. Aura Salmivaara is a post-doctoral researcher at the Natural Resources Institute Finland. Olli Varis, a former IWRA Vice-President, is Vice Dean and Professor at Aalto University, and Leader of the WDRG.

Young IWRA Member Scholarship Award

Recognises a member under the age of 35 for an outstanding contribution to the management of water resources.

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 was two awardees:

The Scottish Government



Stafford Rosenbaum LLP
222 West Washington Avenue, Suite 900
Madison, Wisconsin 53701-1784
United States of America

IWRA Executive Office​

51 rue Salvador Allende
92027 Nanterre Cedex, France
Phone: +33 (0)1-41-20-16-28

Follow Us

Close Menu
ipsum libero porta. massa Nullam nunc ultricies at ut eleifend