Collaborating within the IWA

This year, perhaps more than others, we have had the time to reflect as professionals on our sense of achievement and how we are recognised by our peers. Sandra Hall reflects on how much she has gained in her professional career due to the IWA and the opportunities that her involvement in the association has given her. IWA has members spread across more than 140 countries and there are ways to collaborate and get involved that spans the full diversity of our global water industry.

Specialist groups

There are approximately 50 specialist groups within the IWA and they offer a global network to share information, skills and experience. The groups have a mostly issue-based interaction and bring together experts and interested professionals alike. Specialist groups generally have their own regular newsletters and often will organise their own events around their scientific, technical or management speciality. Consider nominating to be involved in a specialist group management committee.

“I have been involved in the management committee of the Public and Customer Communications SG for a number of years. It has been a valuable network of like minded professionals that I have formed great collaborations with. One of my most rewarding IWA moments has been developing and delivering a world congress workshop with this group” – Dr Sandra Hall, Chair of the Public and Customer Communications Specialist Group

Task groups and clusters

Task groups and clusters are both formed from trans boundary connections between specialists groups, science, practice and outside of the water industry. Task groups are formed to address a defined task, such as COVID-19, whilst Clusters are formed around cross-cutting issues such as the IWA/ISME Biocluster

Governing members

Governing members of the IWA represent 51 countries and reflect the breadth and depth of the industry. Governing members are the ambassadors of the association at a national or regional scale and are provided tools and support from the IWA Headquarters to meet membership expectations. Australia is a governing member through the Australian Water Association and with the support of the Water Services Association of Australia. IWA Australia is led by a group of committed and passionate individuals. In early 2021 there will be a call to all IWA – Australian members to nominate to be a part of this committee.

“I am proud to be a member of IWA Australia as it keeps me in touch with international water management issues and allows be to contribute towards maintaining Australia’s prominence in the international arena – we are good you know!”, Mark Pascoe, Chief Executive Officer, International WaterCentre

Young Water Professionals

The IWA defines a young water professional as someone who is under 35 years of age, but it’s so much more than a simple age cut off. The Young Water Professionals are leaders of the industry that bring passion, expertise and commitment to every conversation. By recognising as a part of this IWA Community there are many ways to collaborate including local chapters, specialist groups, IWA Connect platforms and more. The representative body, the Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee, provides advice and direction to the association and is led by Australian born Emily Ryan, see article from Emily here. 

IWA Fellows

The IWA Fellows and Distinguished Fellows are a unique community within the IWA who have been recognised as leaders who continue to make a significant contribution to the global water industry. The fellows are the ambassadors of the association who drive the association forward, provide guidance and mentorship and are committed to advancing our industry. Australia has 13 Fellows and 5 Distinguished Fellows the latest that were announced were, Kathryn Silvester, Jurg Keller (Distinguished) and Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran (Distinguished). 

“I feel honoured to be recognised by IWA for my contribution to the water sector and proud that space is being created to both foster and celebrate its growing diversity”, Kathryn Silvester, Sydney Water


There are so many opportunities to build your international networks by collaborating with the IWA. I hope that you have found inspiration and have clicked on a few of the links. See you in the community. 

Sandra Hall