The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition is the global event for water professionals covering the full water cycle. As the Congress rotates through cities and countries each event has an extra emphasis on issues of specific interest to the region. The 2020 edition taking place in Copenhagen will have as key focus the digital economy, smart and liveable cities, entrepreneurship and diffusion of innovation, climate change adaptation , community and customer engagement, and sustainability. 

Key dates

20 Jun 2019
Online submission opens

30 Oct 2019
Submissions deadline

1 Apr 2020
Authors notification

1 Jul 2020
Author registration deadline

18 Oct 2020
Congress & Exhibition Starts

Why should you submit your work to the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2020?

  • Contribute with your work to shape the global water agenda,
  • Connect with leading professionals from within and outside the water sector,
  • Learn and grow professionally through early access to the best content,
  • Network with over 10,000 delegates and visitors from over 100 countries worldwide.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Water For Smart Livable Cities


The 2020 World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark is designed to bring together over 10,000 water professionals from academia, utilities, industry, government, regulators and NGOs and also engage the water-consuming industry, agriculture, architects and urban planners, hydrologists and soil and groundwater experts, social sciences, ICT-sector, the financial sector and others. The Congress is by nature a global forum for discussion. We invite you to be an active player in shaping the future of water at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2020 by submitting your outline papers, workshop or training proposals.

We live in a time of great change and with that comes great responsibility.  In 2020, we have 10 years left to deliver on the UN 2030 Agenda for Change and meet the Sustainable Development Goals, including making significant progress on climate change mitigation as well as adaptation. This calls for a profound transformation, also in the water sector.

The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2020 will take stock of the global water challenges we face, the emerging scientific breakthroughs and the innovative approaches and inspiring solutions validated around the world to set an unequivocal water-wise path ahead. With an emphasis on SDG6, dedicated to water and sanitation, the Congress will also highlight the interwoven relation of water with all 17 Global Goals and show examples of implementation and cooperation towards the fulfilment of the SDGs. Participants will present, analyse, discuss and highlight progress and solutions at high-level summits, technical sessions, poster sessions, workshops, training sessions and site-visits.

Through the underlying theme ‘Water for smart liveable cities’, a concept in which Denmark is leading, we will explore smart, holistic and liveable city solutions that utilize synergies between various intelligent systems, empower cities to adapt to a changing climate and meet the Paris agenda, whilst improving the quality of life and well-being of our societies. In addition, we will contribute to developing a global culture of innovation that can enable the radical transformations required.


Track 1

In detail

Utility corporate management
The digital water utility (data management)
Utility efficiency and benchmarking
Customer management and engagement
Trade waste (industry inflows) management
Public-private sector cooperation;
Performance optimization and resource recovery management
Water & wastewater plant performances & optimization approaches
Water savings and reuse
Energy and carbon neutral urban water services
Circular economy initiatives
Adaptation to climate change impacts
Infrastructure and assets
Asset management and optimization
Infrastructure rehabilitation
Sewer overflow prevention and management
Integration of decentralised solutions in a centralised system
Policy and social aspects, crisis management
Economic and financial drivers to create beneficial community outcomes
Interactions of utilities with local and regional government agencies
Outbreak management – learning from crisies
Management of extreme events (earthquakes, floods, bushfires, major accidents and attacks etc).

Track 2

In detail

Biological wastewater treatment
Nutrient removal
Anaerobic processes
Activated sludge processes
Biofilm and granular sludge processes
Membrane bioreactors
Microbial ecology (communities, meta-omics)
Resource recovery techniques
Water reclamation for non-potable reuse
Energy efficiency and recovery
Recovery of nutrients and chemicals
Industry recycling and cross-industry synergies
Bio-electrochemical processes
Physicochemical treatment
Membrane applications in wastewater management
Advanced oxidation processes
Nanomaterials and nanotechnology
Other physico-chemical treatment techniques
Dedicated treatment
Agroindustries and food industries
Biosolids management & reuse
Emerging contaminants (micropollutants, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, …)
Decentralised treatment and non-sewered sanitation
Large wastewater treatment plants
Digital wastewater treatment
Modelling treatment processes and integrated systems
Instrumentation, control & automation

Track 3

In detail

Drinking water production
Unit operations (coagulation, (bio)filtration, membrane processes, activated carbon, ozonation… )
Disinfection techniques and by-products management
Groundwater-based drinking water supply
Potable reuse technologies
Alternative drinking water production (rainwater harvesting, decentralised production, etc.)
Emerging contaminants and antibiotic resistance bacteria/genes
Taste and odour
Distribution systems
Distribution piping (house/building plumbing, metal and plastic leaching etc.)
Non-revenue water and leakage management
Microbiology and biofilms
Management, policy and social aspects
Water quality standards, regulations and economics
Microbial and chemical risk assessment including toxicology
Disaster management and water safety plans
Water demand management and use efficiency
Communication with stakeholders
Digital drinking water
Monitoring and control
Data management and data security
IoT initiatives, data and hardware integration
Modelling treatment processes and systems

Track 4

In detail

Integration of water management and urban planning
Modelling and other decision-support tools for urban water planning
Resilience planning and design
Impact of urban (re)development and densification on water management
Impacts and mitigation of climate change
Infrastructure and Operations
Modelling/optimisation of water supply and sewer networks and processes
Sewer infiltration-inflows, unintended sewer in-/overflows
Rehabilitation and retrofitting of water and wastewater infrastructure
Rainwater, stormwater and urban drainage
Urban scale groundwater mapping, monitoring and modelling
Water-energy interactions in the urban water cycle
Digital Water Cities
Sensors, instrumentation and IoT in urban systems
From data to information to decision
Data management, accessibility and security
Use of weather radar, numerical weather prediction, drones and remote sensing
Water Wise Cities
Nature-based solutions, sponge cities and blue/green infrastructure
Water-sensitive urban design and hybrid centralised/decentralised solutions
Transitioning to and implementation of sustainable and water wise cities
Quantification of economic, human and environmental benefits of water wise solutions
Challenges and progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Track 5

In detail

Capacity building and communication
Community, customer and stakeholder engagement and communication at local level
Community behaviour change – methods, communication and incentives
Community-focused decision making
Resilience planning across the water cycle and the community
Digital transformation
Impacts of digital transformation on society, citizens, and businesses
Customer management and engagement using digital tools
Integration/management of databases across urban and water system
Policy and regulation
Cost of water, pricing and incentives
Regulation coordination across agencies (economic, environmental, services etc.)
Incentives and drivers to enable change
System thinking and planning
Environmental impact assessment based planning
Cross-sectorial governance
Enabling health, well-being and liveability outcomes
Life with water, art and architecture
Entrepreneurship and innovation partnerships
Cross-institutional coordination and collaboration
Partnerships and cooperation in and beyond the water sector

Track 6

In detail

Groundwater mapping, monitoring and modelling
Protection of groundwater quality and quantity
Soil contamination and groundwater remediation
Governance, management and institutional arrangements
Surface water
Surface water monitoring systems and models
Protection of surface water quality and quantity
Source-to-sea pollution management
Pollution from point sources – agriculture, industry, urban
Diffuse pollution – sources and mitigation
Water-related ecosystems and environmental flows
Integrated water resource management
Water stress, droughts and floods, including impact of climate change
Catchment management and ecosystem services on different scales
Large-scale nature-based solutions and biodiversity
Water rights, trading and partnerships
 Holistic assessments
Life cycle assessment, water efficiency, water footprint, virtual water, etc.
Planetary boundaries and science of sustainability
Water resource management towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

What can authors submit?

Outline papers
– oral presentation (15 min) or poster
– oral presentations form technical sessions (90 min)
– authors invited to potential publication with IWA Publishing

Training proposals
– 90 min or back to back slots
– tailored to improve particular skills
– focused on specific topics or complementary skills

Workshop proposals 
– 90 min workshop proposal
– designed to foster cooperation
– meant to generate ideas/new solutions

Authors can submit an outline paper, a workshop proposal, or a training proposal.
Authors may submit an unlimited number of proposals. However, each presenting author can only be assigned up to two submissions during the Congress.

How is content selected?

All the content submitted to the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition 2020 will be peer reviewed by a panel of water professionals.
The Programme Committee will then, considering their expertise and the results of the peer review, form the technical programme of the Congress.

The evaluation of the content will consider, among others:

  • The impact of the work in addressing pressing water challenges,
  • The originality of the work, describing new solutions or approaches,
  • The fit between the thematic tracks and the proposal,
  • The stage of development of the proposal (e.g. specific results based on data and/or a strong rational).

IWA expects to receive more than 2 000 submissions.
From the pool of submissions the Programme will include approximately 350 oral presentations, 600 poster presentations, and 65 workshops and trainings.

Will Papers be published?

The Congress delegates will have access to digital pre-print proceedings that include the content that forms the technical programme.
The submissions selected for oral presentation will be invited to submit a full paper and will be considered by IWA Publishing for potential publication in one of IWA Publishing journals.

Author Registration fee

All authors (oral presenters, poster presenters, workshop organizers, training organizers) are requested to register to attend the Congress.
Presenting authors are eligible for discounted registration rates.

Authors do not need to be members of IWA. However, IWA members have access to a series of benefits that include significant registration discounts.

Programme Committee

Aaron Burton, Landscape Institute, UK
Amy Pruden, Virginia Tech, USA
Bright-Oridami Titilola, Lagos Water Corporation, Nigeria
Buddhika Gunawardana, University of Moratuwa, SriLanka
Caetano Dorea, University of Victoria, Canada
Cathy Hu Qing, Southern University, China
Eiman Karar, UNEP, South Africa
Eveline Volcke (co-chair) University of Ghent Belgium
Ines Breda, Aalborg University, Denmark
Innocent Nhapi Chinhoyi, University of Technology, Zimbabwe
Jacob Amengor, IWASH, Ghana
Jurg Keller (co-chair), Queensland University, Australia
Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Technical University of Denmark – DTU, Denmark

Linda Amand, Käppala Association, Sweden
Linda Li, Dillon Consulting, Canada
Mari Asami, National Institute of Public Health, Japan
Nilo Nascimento, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Oscar Pintos, ADERASA, Argentina
Per Halkjaer Nielsen, Aalborg University, Denmark
Peter VanRolleghem, Univeristy Laval, Canada
Shane Morgan, Watercare, New Zealand
Srikanth Mutnuri, BITS Pilani, India
Thammarat Koottatep, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
Trine Munk, Ramboll, USA
Xia Huang, Tsinghua University, China

Expectations from #WorldWaterCongress 2020 in Copenhagen

  • Learn and grow professionally and expand your network through privileged access to the best content and the best people worldwide
  • Visionary thinkers and compelling speakers on how water can create Smart Liveable Cities of the future, supported by the IWA Principles for Water Wise Cities.
  • High-level summit with utility, government and city officials and other organisations about the progress towards implementation of the SDGs.
  • Groundwater and digitalization as special focus areas.
  • Engagement of the industry, agriculture and energy sectors.
  • Advance opportunities for IWA Young Water Professionals and #EmergingWaterLeaders.
  • Highlight global innovations and offer a global business platform.

Join us in Copenhagen! See you in...