Tokyo 2018 IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition closed with renewed focus on interdisciplinary collaboration to address global water challenges

The Hague, Netherlands, 5 October 2018 – Our water future is in our hands. Under the theme “Shaping Our Water Future” the 2018 IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition gathered leading international water professionals together in Tokyo, from 16 to 21 September 2018, to discuss and present solutions that can bring transformative change to address multiple water problems.

“This 2018 edition of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition series, was host to nearly 10,000 water leaders from governments, utilities, academia, private companies, and international organisations. This makes it the most attended IWA Congress ever,” said Kala Vairavamoorthy, IWA Executive Director. “This Congress in Tokyo has provided a strategic platform for key stakeholders within the water sector to come together to discuss and co-create solutions to the global water challenges. It is proved agenda setting for the sector and beyond,” Mr. Vairavamoorthy continued. “The interdisciplinary collaboration, clearly the core IWA principle, has become reality at the Congress. We have discussed and worked on utilities, cities, and basins of the future with key focus on the digital water age, disaster resilience and sustainability.”

This biennial Congress was once again an important forum for the international water sector and for the engaged IWA membership. With the highest support from the host country Japan, the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition was honoured with the presence and attendance of Their Imperial Highnesses, Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan, and members of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, in the person of Ms. Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, who gave a keynote speech on the city’s bold actions towards a sustainable urban water cycle. The Japanese experience in water management, coping with the diverse challenges such as population growth, megacities or natural disasters, has inspired the many Congress participants and water professionals.

“Again, the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition has proved the importance of bringing the key stakeholders and leaders of the industry together to discuss on the pressing water problems our world is facing”, stated Diane D’Arras, IWA President.

The event has demonstrated that the IWA World Water Congress series is a platform for water professionals to build a bridge between research and practice in meetings, workshops, presentations, and networking. Among them were the meeting of the 5th International Water Regulators Forum, presentations on Water-wise Cities, launch of thenew IWA Specialist Group on Non-Sewered Sanitation, the new platform for accelerating the Diffusion of Innovation, the new grouping on Path to a Digital Water Age, and the new initiative to support members on Policy Development.

A number of partnership agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were signed over the course of the week, including with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and the Alliance of Water Stewardship.

With a focus on our water future and security, the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Mr. Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, is looking forward to hosting the next IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2020 to work with the IWA water professional community on water smart and liveable cities. “

“Only together we can learn and provide solutions,” raised Ms. D’Arras. “Being a space for professionals to exchange water knowledge, the International Water Association and its membership have once again demonstrated the enormous potential and strength we the water professionals have to shape our water future.”