Planning the Future of the Water Sector


The water sector faces significant dual challenges of an ageing workforce and a shortage of adequately skilled staff to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6. To address the high standards and targets set under this goal, the sector needs to attract and support the development of new talent. This new talent, should be seen as the emerging leaders, who should be encouraged to contribute to the sector’s advancements today and start planning the future of the water sector that they will lead!


An open platform for young and emerging water leaders to work with peers to start planning for the future of the water sector that we will be in charge off.


Young and emerging water leaders – aged 35 and under covering a wide range of disciplines ranging social, technical, economic to environmental. The participant needs to be a registered delegate of the World Water Congress and Exhibition.

The Organising committee will facilitate the session:

  • Arlinda Ibrahimllari, UKKO, Albania
  • Kathryn Silvester, Sydney Water, Australia
  • Lisa Bross, Universitaet der Bundeswehr, Germany
  • Pablo Ledezma, AWMC, Australia
  • Thalita Fagundes, Regulatory Agency, Ares PCJ, Brazil
  • Trine Munk, Ramboll, Denmark

We have also invited a selected list of senior experts to join and support the discussions, provide their experienced input where needed, and add to the output of the forum. Confirmed till now are:

  • Banu Ormeci, Carleton University, Canada – Second Session
  • Claudia Sadoff, IWMI, Sri Lanka – Second session
  • Gustaf Olsson, Lund University Sweden
  • Juan Antonio Baeza, Universitat Autonoma Barcelona, Spain
  • Mark Fletcher, ARUP, UK
  • Tony Wong – Monash University and CEO for the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities – Second session
  • Philip de Souza – Emanti, South Africa – first session
  • Xavier Litrico – Suez, France


Participants are invited to discuss among their peers and design solutions for big challenges (answering 3 big questions) for Post 2030 or even 2050 when they will be leading the sector. Using teaching and applying techniques to break complex issues down in smaller components, you will practice your problem solving skills whilst developing answers to the questions posed by senior and experienced professionals.

Get involved

*An IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018 registration is compulsory for Forum attendees.


Programme schedule

10.30 – 10.40  Welcome and Introduction
Groups: Digital Water; Climate Resilience; Healthy Liveable Cities

10.40 – 10.50  Meet and Greet

10.50 – 11.00  What is the key question we will need to answer by 2050?
Presentation by emerging water leaders presenting question posed by Congress  Keynote Speakers

11.00 – 11.50  Breaking the Questions Down
Group Exercise to break the question down and prioritise.

11.50 – 12.00  The Answers Toolkit
Presentation by emerging water leaders to provide tools to tackle the discussion after lunch

12.00 – 13.30  Lunch at the IWA Stand

13.30 – 13.35  Recap part 1 and Introduction
Emerging Water Leaders recap part 1 and introduce what next
Groups: Digital Water; Climate Resilience; Healthy Liveable Cities

13.35 – 14.15  Answering the Questions 
Group Exercise to answer the key question

14.15 – 14.30  What action is needed today to plan for this future?
Group discussion to action

14.30 – 14.45  Group Pitches of the Answers
Groups to pitch their results

14.45 – 15.00  Plenary Discussion and Closing
Reactions to Group pitches and closing

Young Water Professionals

At the forefront of the design, development and implementation of current change processes, IWA’s activities for Young Water Professionals aim to empower the next generation of water leaders.

Organising Committee of the Emerging Water Leaders Forum

The Organising committee of the Emerging Water Leaders Forum are all young IWA members. Are you interested to become involved in such activities in the future. Join the young members of IWA, and keep an eye out for calls to engage in committees in our IWA Young Water Professionals Community.