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Announcement of IWRA Awardees in 2020

IWRA is pleased to announce the distinguished recipients of the Association’s 2020 awards.

You are invited to come and meet these amazing water leaders at the XVII World Water Congress taking place in Daegu, Republic of Korea, from 29 November - 3 December 2021, where there will be a dedicated IWRA Awards Ceremony.

The IWRA Executive Board congratulates all of the winners and thanks everyone for making so many nominations to be considered by the Awards Committee for this year’s honours. This was no easy task for the Committee. It is inspiring to be able to recognise the achievements and contributions that all of these people have made so far towards the sustainable management and use of the world’s water resources.

Ven Te Chow Memorial Award & Lecture

The Ven Te Chow Memorial Lecture provides for an outstanding lecture at IWRA’s World Water Congresses in honour of the first president of the IWRA. Awardees are well known in the water community, and have a demonstrated ability to give outstanding lectures.

Soontak Lee

Yeungnam University, World Water Council & IHES

Prof. Dr. Soontak Lee 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:

Crystal Drop Award

The Crystal Drop Award is provided to organizations or individuals in recognition of their laudable contributions to the improvement of the world’s water situation. These contributions may be through path breaking research on water issues, practice in water management or governance, knowledge transfer or dissemination, and/or outstanding contributions.

Doğan Altinbilek

Middle East Technical University

Prof. Doğan Altinbelik is an Emeritus Professor of Water Resources Engineering at Civil Engineering Department of Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. After receiving his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Middle East Technical University (METU) in 1965, Prof. Altinbilek received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA. Since 1970, he has been involved in an academic profession holding posts at Middle East Technical University of Turkey and King Abdulaziz University of Saudi Arabia. From 1996 to 2001, he was the Director General of State Hydraulic Works (DSI), which is the major government agency in Turkey responsible for water resources development including hydropower, irrigation and water supply to large cities. From 2005 to 2009, Prof. Altinbilek was appointed as President of Energy Group at IC Holding, in Turkey and also as Chairman of Board of AES-IC Ictas Energy Production Company.
Prof. Doğan Altinbilek is an Honorary Member and the Past President (2013-2015) and Past Vice President (2007-2019) of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA). In addition, he served as a Governor (2006-2018) and Vice President (2012-2018) of World Water Council (WWC) where he continues to serve as an Honorary Governor. Prof. Altinbilek is also an Honorary Member and the Past President (2004-2008) of International Hydropower Association (IHA).
More information:

Water Drop Award

The Water Drop Award recognises 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.

Laura Movilla Pateiro

University of Vigo

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:

New Honorary Members

Honorary Membership is the highest honour IWRA can bestow and is awarded to those who have made significant contributions to the field of water resources and/or attained acknowledged eminence in some field of water resources. IWRA Honorary Membership provides free membership for life to an individual.

Patrick Lavarde

French Ministry of Environment


Claudia Sadoff

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)


Jennifer J. Sara

World Bank Group


Alice Aureli

UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme & ISARM


Biography Chief of the Groundwater Systems and Settlements Section, UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme & Programme Coordinator and ISARM MEMBER. Alice Aureli has a PhD in Hydrogeology and works in the UNESCO Water Sciences Division since 1989. She is responsible for, amongst others, the International Shared Aquifers Resources Management (ISARM) programme. This role has led her to supervise the work of the interdisciplinary group that advised the UN International Law Commission to prepare the Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers.

Claudia Ringler

CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems


Biography Dr. Ringler received her PhD in Agricultural Economics from the Center for Development Research, Bonn University, Germany, and her MA in International and Development Economics from Yale University. Appointed as Deputy Division Director of IFPRI’s Environment and Production Technology Division in 2011, Claudia Ringler has served in various other research positions in that division from 1996. She currently co-leads the Institute’s water research program and is also a basin theme leader in the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems
Over the last several years she has also undertaken research on the impacts of global warming for developing country agriculture and on appropriate adaptation and mitigation options. Dr. Ringler has field experience across Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. In Asia, she has worked on natural resource management and agricultural technology policy in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (Yellow River Basin), India, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan and Vietnam (Dong Nai and Mekong River Basins). In sub-Saharan Africa, she has worked mainly in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa and on the Limpopo, Nile and Volta River Basins; and in Latin America on Chile (Maipo River Basin) and Brazil (Pirapama Basin).

Loïc Fauchon

World Water Council (WWC)


Biography Loïc Fauchon is President of the World Water Council since 2018. He was previously elected as President from 2005 to 2012. For more than 25 years he has been strongly dedicated to international advocacy for global water security and access to water and sanitation for all. After graduating from Political Science, he first worked as a civil servant, Deputy Secretary General of Marseille, and was Mayor of the town of Trets from 1989 to 1997. From 1991 to 2019, he was CEO of the Water Supply Company of Marseille, a private leading group of 15 companies. He is a member of several international and non-governmental organizations and of the UN HighLevel Panel on Water Related Disasters (HELP). He founded the disaster relief NGO “Trans-Sahara”, as well as “Waterhelp”, two official humanitarian response programs. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2003.

Salman M.A. Salman

International Water Resources Association (IWRA)


Biography Dr. Salman M.A. Salman is an Honorary Member, and Fellow, with the International Water Resources Association (IWRA); and editor of Brill Research Perspectives in International Water Law. He served as the World Bank Water Law Adviser (1994 – 2009), and was the co-director of the Hague Academy session on Water Resources and International Law (2001). He is the co-recipient of the IWRA Crystal Drop Award (2017). Dr. Salman earned his LLB from the University of Khartoum, Sudan, and holds an LLM and JSD from Yale Law School. He has published widely in the field of water law and policy.

V.P. Singh

Texas A&M University


Biography Professor Singh has published extensively in the areas of hydrology, irrigation engineering, hydraulics, groundwater, water quality, and water resources (more than 1365 journal articles; 32 textbooks; 80 edited reference books; 115 book chapters; and 315 conference papers). For his extraordinary contributions to a broad range of topics, he has received more than 100 national and international awards, including the Normal Medal, the Chow Award, the Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award, Royce Tipton Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and OPAL Award, all given by ASCE. Professor V.P. Singh is a University Distinguished Professor, a Regents Professor, and Caroline and William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering at Texas A&M University, USA. He holds B.S., M.S., Ph.D. and D.Sc. degrees in engineering and has received three honorary doctorates. He is a member of 11 international science/engineering academies, including European Academy of Science and Arts and is a registered Professional Engineer, a registered Professional Hydrologist, and an Honorary Diplomate of American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (ASCE).

New Fellow Members

IWRA Fellow Membership is granted to an existing IWRA member who has been with IWRA for at least ten years and has either made major contributions to the Association, has held a position of high responsibility, has attained a high level of academic qualification in the field of water resources management, or has made significant contributions though their work. IWRA Fellows are eligible for discounted membership for life.

Emmanuel M. Akpabio

University of Uyo


Henning Bjornlund

University of South Australia


Carl Bruch

Environmental Law Institute


Michael Campana

Oregon State University


Zhao Hao

Ministry of Water Resources the People's Republic of China


Shaofeng Jia

Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Yuanyuan Li

Ministry of Water Resources of the People's Republic of China


Christopher A. Scott

University of Arizona


Raya Marina Stephan

International Water Law Consultant


Poh-Ling Tan

Griffith University


Philippus (Flip) Wester  

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)


James Nickum

Editor-in-Chief of IWRA’s journal “Water International” and former IWRA Executive Board member


Biography James E. Nickum, with a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California (Berkeley), .joined IWRA in 1986 and has served in various positions in the IWRA Executive Board, including as Vice-President and Secretary-General. He is an international advisor to the Centre for Water Engineering and Policy at the University of Hong Kong . He is also a Professional Research Associate at the Centre for Water and Development, School of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii. He is a widely published institutional economist specialising in various facets of water and environmental governance, especially but not exclusively in China, which he visited for the first time in 1974 on a delegation with Ven Te Chow. He was awarded Fellow membership in 2018.

Jennifer McKay

University of South Australia-Justice and Society


Biography Dr. Jennifer McKay serves as Professor of Business Law at the University of South Australia-Justice and Society. A legal practitioner for over 25 years, she worked at Melbourne, Adelaide and James Cook Universities and has an adjunct appointments at ANU (College of Law). She also acted as Commissioner of the Environment Resources and Development court in South Australia. Awarded in 2020 by the Premier's Medal for water research, in 2021 she convened the 7th Frontiers of environmental law conference for scholars for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Academy of Environmental Law.

She is also co editor of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law e-journal for 2020 and 2021.

Robert Varady

University of Arizona


Biography Professor Robert Varady is and Director of Environmental Policy Programs at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, in the University of Arizona. He serves as Research Professor in Arid Lands Resources Studies (GIDP) at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
He is an expert in Environmental and Water-management governance and policy in arid regions with emphasis on transboundary issues, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has been also engaged in environmental and agricultural projects in West Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

Water International Best Paper 2018/2019 Awards

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 and forwarded to the WI Editorial Board, which selects the successful candidates. Selection of best papers is based on relevance, rigor, impact and any other factors deemed important by members of the Editorial Board “jury”.

Authors of awarded papers from 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be recognised at the IWRA XVII World Water Congress, to be held on the 50th anniversary of the IWRA in Daegu, Korea, 29 November to 3 December 2021.

The Best Paper and Honourable Mention awards for 2018 recognize two papers that excel at two different levels, one as a big picture review that brings together critical themes of contemporary water knowledge; the other a novel and robust methodology for studying attitudes, behavior and equity implications of low-income households in developed countries.

The Best Paper and Honourable Mention awards for 2019 look at two timely issues of adaptation to water scarcity—in the context of social shocks to the water sector of Jordan, a water-scarce country with a history of hosting refugees, now trying to cope with the Syrian refugee crisis; and the development of water rights and markets in a highly contested arid part of China.

All exemplify what the International Water Resources Association and this its official journal aim to be -- interdisciplinary, multinational, and linking science/technology and policy.


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

Part of a special issue on the Global Water Security Challenge, this article addresses the emergence and interrelation of food, energy, and water security in terms of resource use and ensuring societal and environmental outcomes.

It is a well-written big picture review article that helps make conceptual leaps in a way that makes it a candidate for a foundational text for students and practitioners about the water-energy-food nexus.

At time of writing, all authors were associated with the University of Arizona and its Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. Christopher A. Scott, an IWRA Fellow, was the Director of the Udall Center and Professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment. Since 1 July 2021 he is Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation at Pennsylvania State University; Tamee R. Albrecht was also PhD Candidate at the School of Geography, Development & Environment; Rafael de Grenade was Research Associate at the Udall Center and is now a Senior Biologist/Environmental Consultant; Adriana A. Zuniga-Teran Is Assistant Research Scientist, School of Landscape Architecture and Planning; Robert G. Varady, an IWRA Fellow, is Research Professor of Environmental Policy, Udall Center; and Bhuwan Thapa was a Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Geography & Development at time of writing, and is now Postdoctoral Fellow, The Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Christopher A. Scott

Tamee R. Albrecht

Rafael de Grenade

Adriana A. Zuniga-Teran

Robert G. Varady

Bhuwan Thapa


Poor water service quality in developed countries may have a greater impact on lower-income households

Anna Robak and Henning Bjornlund

Water International, 43.3, 436-459 doi 10.1080/02508060.2018.1446613

Part of a special issue of Water International, on Wicked Problems of Water Quality Governance, this article finds from a survey of water supply customers in New Zealand that lower-income households are likely to invest more in averting perceived poor water quality than more well-off customers. It uses a novel approach with robust methodology, with good documentation and categorization of averting behaviors with an excellent discussion section. The research design has strong potential to be replicated and tested in other localities.

This article builds on the Ph.D. work at the University of South Australia of Anna Robak, who at time of writing was Director, Whole of Life Asset Management, at Opus International Consultants Limited, Fredericton, NB, Canada; she is now Director, Research & Innovation, WSP in Canada, also in Fredericton, and Adjunct Professor at the University of New Brunswick; Henning Bjornlund, an IWRA Fellow, is Research Professor in Water Policy and Management at the University of South Australia.

Anna Robak

Henning Bjornlund


“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

This timely, interesting well-written and highly citable article uses an innovative research approach to investigate the Syrian refugee crisis in water-scarce Jordan. The find that frequent refugee crises in Jordan have perpetuated reactive water governance that shapes the sector’s resiliencies, vulnerabilities, and adaptation processes.

At the time of writing, all authors were at the University of Oxford, UK. Natasha Westheimer was an M.Sc. student at the at the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) and is now Senior Development Development Associate, Water Team, at the Office of the Quartet, Jerusalem; Michael Gilmont is Research Fellow and now also a Program Manager at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society; and Troy Sternberg is Senior Research Associate at SoGE.

Natasha Westheimer

Michael Gilmont

Troy Sternberg


Water markets as coupled infrastructure systems: comparing the development of water rights in Heihe, Shiyang and Yellow Rivers

Jesper Svensson, Dustin E. Garrick and Shaofeng Jia

Water International, 4.8: 834-853 doi 10.1080/02508060.2019.1669110

Using a coupled infrastructure systems framework, this article examines the post-1949 water rights systems in arid northwest China, thereby capturing a very important aspect of co-evolving institutions and infrastructure within a comparative frame that is relevant for many contexts beyond China.

Jesper Svensson is reading for a DPhil at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, UK, where Dustin E. Garrick is Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, Canada, and Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Shaofeng Jia is Water Professor at the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

Jesper Svennson

Dustin E. Garrick

Shaofeng Jia

Water International Best Paper 2020 Awards

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 and forwarded to the WI Editorial Board, which selects the successful candidates. Selection of best papers is based on relevance, rigor, impact and any other factors deemed important by members of the Editorial Board “jury”.

Authors of awarded papers from 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be recognized at the IWRA XVII World Water Congress, to be held on the 50th anniversary of the IWRA in Daegu, Korea, 29 November to 3 December 2021.

The Best Paper and Honourable Mention awards for 2020 are both international collaborations, one comparing data exchange in transboundary waters, and the other comparing irrigation management transfer programs in four African countries. Both exemplify what the International Water Resources Association and this its official journal aim to be – interdisciplinary, multinational, and linking science/technology and policy.


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

This extremely important and illuminating article develops and applies an assessment framework for data exchange to twenty-five transboundary river basins. In so doing, it highlights where data exchange can be improved and the role of global assessment framework indicators in motivating that improvement.

Patience Mukuyu is a Researcher at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Pretoria, South Africa; Jonathan Lautze is Research Group Leader at IWMI South Africa; Alistair Rieu-Clarke is Professor at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Davison Saruchera is Coordinator of the Water Programme at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), East and Southern African Region, Pretoria, South Africa; and Matthew McCartney is Research Group Leader at IWMI, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Patience Mukuyu

Jonathan Lautze

Alastair Rieu-Clarke

Davison Saruchera

Matthew McCartney


Irrigation management transfer in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of policy implementation across scales

Cesario Cambaza, Jaime Hoogesteger and Gert Jan Veldwisch

Water International, 45.1, 3-19 doi 10.1080/02508060.2019.1702310

This timely and highly relevant article explores how irrigation management transfer policies were implemented in Mali, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It finds that those policies were shaped by the interplay between international donors, macroeconomic dynamics, national politics and the interactions with (and the nature of) irrigation infrastructure, bureaucracies and organized users.

Cesario Cambaza is Head of the Consulting, Studies, Projects and Fundraising Department at the Institute Superior Politecnico de Gaza, Chokwe, Mozambique; Jaime Hoogesteger is an Assistant Professor and Gert Jan Veldwisch is an Associate Professor in the Water Resources Management Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Cesario Cambaza

Jaime Hoogesteger

Gert Jan Veldwisch