World water congress


The World Water Congress is the largest event linking water researchers and policy practitioners in the world. In its XVIIth edition since 1973, the Congress will focus on a key, timely theme: “Foundations for Global Water Security and Resilience: Knowledge, Technology and Policy”. It is known that water security can be endangered in many ways: water scarcity, natural hazards, conflicts, contaminants, etc. The challenges and priorities around water security are multiple, complex and diverse.

That is why for this Congress, IWRA wanted to hear stories from representatives of the next generations and give them a chance to showcase the issues they face when it comes to Water Security during the next XVII World Water Congress in Korea. The five selected representatives are called “World Water Envoys”.

To apply, candidates for selection as a World Water Envoy had to provide the following:

A video recording of up to 2 minutes made on a phone or laptop introducing the water security situation faced by the local community and explaining what the problem is and how it is impacting the community.
One high-resolution digital photo that best illustrates the impact of poor water security on the community.  The candidate should be the author of the photo.
A application form, available on the website, that includes all requested information as well as consent for IWRA to use any submitted images.
The candidates should be younger than 35 years old, and be able to talk about their situation in public and in English. It doesn’t matter where the candidates come from, but their community must have a water security issue that it is struggling to overcome.
The IWRA team received almost a hundred applications and came up together with a shortlist of fourteen candidates. Not without difficulties, a shortlist of 5 winners came up, trying to guarantee a geographical representation as well as a variety of water security challenges exposed by the finalists. 

During the opening ceremony of the Congress, the World Water Envoys will have the opportunity to talk about the water security challenge they face in their community and the impacts it has on everyday life. They will then have the chance to discuss this issue in more detail over the following days with experts attending the Congress, and then will be asked to summarise in the Closing Ceremony what they have learned over the week, and what connections they made that might help their community to overcome its water security challenge.

The collaboration between IWRA and the Envoys won’t only start at the Congress: the preparation year before the Congress in Korea is an opportunity to already engage with the five Envoys, and give them the chance to take part in IWRA Task Forces and projects.

The five World Water Envoys are:

Georgina Mukwirimba


Georgina focuses on the economics of water supply in cities, in the context of Zimbabwe. She is currently doing an internship at UNESCO in Harare, working on the “City Blue Print” programme.



Deepesh focuses on the right to water and sanitation in slums, in India. He has a Masters degree in Water Policy and Governance, worked with the Indian Sanitation Coalition, and currently works on installing temporary toilets during giant pilgrim gatherings similar to Kumbh Mela.


Dominican Republic 

Maria focuses on urban river management, specifically on the recent contamination of a river in Santo Domingo, leading to severe health problems in her neighbourhood, such as dengue fever. She sees education and awareness-raising around waste and water management as a key priority for her community. Maria finished her undergrad in civil engineering.


Palestine, West Bank 

Bayan focuses on agrochemical pollution in Palestine, in rural areas, due to intensive uses of pesticides -which have a big impact on people’s health. Bayan is doing a PhD in Germany on the topic and is very passionate about the subject.



Pallavi focuses on groundwater pollution in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, where 90% of people depend on groundwater, contaminated with arsenic, chemicals and viruses. Pallavi understands well the multifactorial complexity of the situation and is very eloquent. She finishes her undergrad in environmental science.


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