IWRA was established to supplement the activities of existing organisations and to fill interdisciplinary voids that exist in the professional field of water resources. A driving force behind its founding was Ven Te Chow, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering at the University of Illinois (USA). Other pioneers of the organisation included Sandor C. Csallany, Gabor M. Karadi, Emil Mosonyi, Herbert C. Preul, and Vujica Yevjevich.


  • The advancement of water resources planning, development, management, science, technology, research, and education.
  • The establishment of an international forum for planners, administrators, managers, scientists, engineers, educators, and others who are concerned with water resources.
  • The encouragement, collaboration, and support of international programs in the field of water resources.
The goal of Water International and other IWRA publications is to provide broad knowledge and information on water resources and to create an international forum for interdisciplinary communication.

Key Events


1950-60s Concept of IWRA developed at conferences of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) and other American scientific seminars
1971 IWRA Articles of Incorporation submitted in the State of Wisconsin (USA)
1972 IWRA begins operation with Ven Te Chow as the first President
1973 First World Water Congress in Chicago
1975 First issue of Water International published
1985 Crystal Drop Award, for laudable contributions to the world’s water situation, first given to UNESCO during V World Water Congress in Brussels
1988 Ven Te Chow Memorial Lecture programme, to honour the IWRA founder, first given to Vujica Yevjevich during VI World Water Congress in Ottawa
1994 The Cairo Statement, proposing the World Water Council, produced at the VIII World Water Congress in Cairo

Taylor & Francis begin publishing Water International

Locations of IWRA Executive Office



Location of Executive Office

1972 Falls Church, Virginia, USA
1976 Washington D.C., USA
1984 University of Illinois : Urbana, Illinois, USA
1995 University of New Mexico: Albuquerque, USA
1998 Southern Illinois University : Carbondale, Illinois, USA
2006 McGill University : Montreal, Canada
2007 Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) : Midrand, South Africa
2010 Association VERSeau Developpement : Montpellier, France
2016 Agence de l’eau Siene-Normandie : Paris, France

World Water Congresses






I 1973 Chicago, USA Importance and Problems of Water in the Human Environment in Modern Times 24-28 Sept. 1973
II 1975 New Delhi, India Water for Human Needs 12-16 Dec. 1975
III 1979 Mexico City, Mexico Water for Human Survival 23-27 Apr. 1979
IV 1982 Buenos Aires, Argentina Water for Human Consumption: Man and his Environment 5-9 Sept. 1982
V 1985 Brussels, Belgium Water Resources for Rural Areas and their Communities 9-15 Jun. 1985
VI 1988 Ottawa, Canada Water for World Development 29 May – 3 Jun 1988
VII 1991 Rabat, Morocco Water for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century 13 -18 May 1991
VIII 1994 Cairo, Egypt Satisfying Future National and Global Water Demands 13-18 May 1994
IX 1997 Montreal, Canada Water Resources Outlook for the 21st Century: Conflicts and Opportunities 1-6 Sept. 1997
X 2000 Sydney, Australia Sharing and Caring for Water 12-16 March 2000
XI 2003 Madrid, Spain Water Resources Management in the 21st Century 5-9 Oct. 2003
XII 2005 New Delhi, India Water for Sustainable Development, Towards Innovative Solutions 22-25 Nov. 2005
XIII 2008 Montpellier, France Global Changes and Water Resources 1-4 Sept. 2008
XIV 2011 Porto-de-Galinhas, Brazil Adaptive Water Management: looking to the future 25-29 Sept. 2011
XV 2015 Edinburgh, Scotland Global Water, A Resource for Development: Opportunities, Challenges & Constraints 25-29 May 2015
XVI 2017 Cancun, Mexico Bridging Science and Policy 29 May – 3 Jun 2017
XVII 2020 Daegu, Korea Water and Sustainable Development May 2020


IWRA Presidents



1972 – Ven Te Chow
1980 – Guillermo Cano
1983 – Jean Pierre Garbe
1986 – Peter J. Reynolds
1989 – Asit K. Biswas
1992 – Mahmoud Abu-Zeid
1995 – Glenn E. Stout
1998 – Benedito P.F. Braga
2001 – John J. Pigram
2004 – Aly M. Shady
2007 – Cecilia Tortajada
2010 – Jun Xia
2013 – Dogan Altinbilek
2016 – Patrick Lavarde