Building Leaders & Making Impact

A Conference for Young Leaders, by Young Leaders

The International Young Water Professionals Conference

Following seven successful International Young Water Professional Conferences (IYWPC) in the UK, Netherlands, Singapore, USA, Australia, Hungary, Taiwan, the International Water Association (IWA) together with Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) and the South African Young Water Professionals (YWP-ZA) will organise the 8th edition of the International Young Water Professional Conference on 10–13 December 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Through the offering of technical paper sessions, topical workshops, soft skill learning sessions, networking opportunities and a career fair, the IYWPC will be the “Must Attend” event for young water professionals (YWPs), especially for those wishing to develop their career and progress further into the water sector.

Advisory Committee

Building our Future, Together

  • Patricia Bakir – Jordan
  • Tobias Barnard – South Africa
  • Jo Burgess – South Africa
  • Peter Cornel – Germany
  • Günter Langergraber – Austria
  • Brian Macintosh – Australia
  • Gertjan Medema – Netherlands
  • Gustaf Olsson – Sweden
  • Henry Roman – South Africa
  • Marion Savill – New Zealand
  • Michael Storey – Australia
  • Peter Vanrolleghem – Canada
  • Uta Wehn – Netherlands
  • Kevin Winter – South Africa


With the conference theme Building Leaders & Making Impact, the conference will offer:

All will contribute to the professional development for our future water leaders.

The IYWPC encourages multidisciplinary sharing and learning with sessions that make impact in some “big topics” in the water sector and beyond. Your submissions in the “big topics” have been crucial to determine our impact.


The goal of the IYWPC is to provide tangible support to the empowerment of young talent in the water sector by connecting, developing and recognising emerging talent. The conference will provide a unique combination of programmatic content that will appeal to young academics, early career- as well as advancing water professionals from all disciplines and all types of organisations.

We would like to invite all young, inspiring water professionals to join us at the 8th International Young Water Professionals Conference (IYWPC). This conference will empower you to progress further in your water career.

With a multi-disciplinary programme of technical sessions, workshops, learning sessions and networking events you will gain connections, develop yourself professionally and gain recognition for your contributions.

The conference will provide a unique combination of programmatic content that will appeal to young academics, early career, and advancing professionals from all disciplines and all types of organisations in the water sector.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content of the conference and ensuring that the high standard of previous IYWPCs is maintained and meets the needs of the international water sector. The Programme Committee decides the balance between technical sessions, workshops, learning sessions and networking events. As part of the conference programme, the keynote speakers will be decided by the Programme Committee including the topics of the plenary address that remain relevant to the conference theme. The Programme Committee is responsible for managing the abstract review process and creating the multidisciplinary conference programme.

  • Ashton Maherry (Chair) – South Africa
  • Norhayati Binti-Abdullah – Malaysia
  • Nikki Funke – South Africa
  • Yussuf Hussein – Kenya
  • Arlinda Ibrahimllari – Albania
  • Christian Loderer – Germany
  • Aisha Manmade – Portugal
  • Sebastian Riera Yankeliovich – Argentina
  • Lindelani Sibiya – South Africa
  • Randolph Webb – United States of America
  • Hiroshi Yamamura – Japan

From the Programme Committee Chair

On behalf of the Programme Committee, we are inspired to invite you to take part in the 8th International Young Water Professionals Conference, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from the 10-13 December 2017.

The Theme decided by the Programme Committee: Building Leaders & Making Impact epitomises in 5 words what we are trying to achieve with the conference. In order to do this, we are working hard to create an innovative conference for you that balances your traditional conference presentations showcasing your impact with workshops, learning sessions and panel discussions to capacitate and build our future water leaders.

Rather than the conventional sub-theme session format where presentations are restricted to a single discipline, we encourages multidisciplinary sharing and learning with sessions that make impact in some “big topics” in the water sector and beyond. Your research is crucial to helping us to impact these “big topics” and we therefore encourage you to submit an abstract so that the Programme Committee can create a programme that is multidisciplinary and inspiring. We hope this successful multidisciplinary format will set the benchmark for future conferences to encourage cross-sector sharing, as well as skilling YWPs to present their technical research to a multi-disciplinary non-technical audience.

In addition, in order to give first time conference attendees a chance to present, the Programme Committee agreed that poster presentations should have greater exposure in the form of a 2-Minute-Thesis and 1 slide presentation to introduce your research in addition to the standard poster Further, the 2-Minute-Thesis format will prepare students for the Universitas 21 3-Minute-Thesis® competition. But don’t worry as the Programme Committee will provide you with the necessary tools to excel at this!

First developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) challenges research students to communicate the significance of their projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.

So join us in Cape Town, South Africa, for the largest gathering of international young water professionals as you make impact and build yourself into tomorrow’s water leaders!


Ashton Maherry

Joint Organising Committee

A message from..

The Conference Chair

Dear YWP’s and friends

I am excited and honoured to invite you, on behalf of the conference organizing committee to the 8th International Young Water Professionals Conference, to be held in Cape Town from the 10th to the 13th December 2017.

The International Young Water Professionals Conference (IYWPC) series has become the ‘must attend event’ for young Water Professionals globally. This, the 8th, is being arranged by the IWA in partnership with the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) and the South African Young Water Professionals (YWP-ZA). Preparations are already well underway with over 30 Young Water Professionals from South Africa and across the world already working hard on making this conference the best IYWPC to date.

The theme of the 8th IYWPC is ‘Building Leaders, Making Impact”. With this in mind the Programme Committee is working hard at developing an innovative and though-provoking programme that will go beyond the ‘conventional conference’, and look to challenge, develop and equip Young Water Professionals to address the challenges faced in the water sector. This includes, inter alia, research presentations, skills development workshops, a “meet your employer” style Career Fair, and a selection of technical tours showcasing the history of and innovative approaches to water management in Cape Town. The local organising committe is also busy arranging an exciting social progamme to allow for networking and the sharing of ideas that may help solve challenges in the water sector.

The hosting of the 8th IYWPC in Cape Town, South Africa marks a significant milestone in the history of this conference series. It is the first IYWPC hosted on the African continent. More significantly though, it is also the first time a IYWPC will be hosted in the ‘Global South’ – where a large proportion of the world’s population most affected by the challenges in the water sector live.

Cape Town, the host city, has been widely recognized as a ‘must see’ destination. It was the World Design Capital in 2014; it was a host city for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; and it contains one of the New7Wonders of Natural – Table Mountain. More importantly, for this conference, it is also internationally recognized for its Water Conservation and Water Demand Management programs, and boasts one of the first major stormwater harvesting systems internationally. With South Africa (and Cape Town) facing the worst drought in living memory, the hosting of the IYWPC in Cape Town further highlights the importance of the water sector’s contribution to ensuring a sustainable future.

Please save the date, submit papers and register to join us for the conference. Ensure you keep up-to-date by visiting this website and linking on / liking at least one of our social media pages (twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, IWA Connect). We will do our best to keep you updated about how we are planning to make this “the” most important water sector event of 2017 – if not until the next IYWPC.
We hope to see you in December 2017! Please contact us if you have any questions, need any assistance or advice.


Dr Lloyd Fisher-Jeffers

IWA Emerging Water Leaders

Dear Young Water Professionals,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the 8th International Young Water Professionals Conference, to be held in Cape Town.  As the new Chair of the IWA Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee (representing the IWA Young Water Professionals), I would like to invite all of you to this International Conference which is designed to promote participation, foster networking, learning and knowledge exchange.

The event will lean towards empowering all the Young Water Professionals as you are considered to be the Emerging Water Leaders.

Young Water Professionals need to participate actively in our society to improve our own lives by representing and advocating about “Water” needs. IWA uses this conference as a vehicle to develop a multi-disciplinary network of Emerging Water Leaders to be put at the forefront of the decision-making and make an impact. This is a unique opportunity to provide your opinion, practice and to get empowered by your peers. Yet your contribution as the industry’s future leaders is crucial to shape the event.

I do not need to repeat the challenges we face – urbanisation, climate change, severe weather events, water scarcity, a lack of access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation and deteriorating eco-systems – but I do need to inform you is that WE are in a position to change the water sector, work towards integrated solutions across sectors and disciplines. We – Young Water Professionals –  should find solutions to our most pressing water problems and this Conference is the right place to get started.

I am very happy to announce that preparations are underway and the Programme Committee is working to put together a truly unique and innovative programme that addresses your needs whilst the Joint and Local Organising Committees are ensuring a great conference experience. Take advantage of a golden opportunity to learn about new industry trends and services and make an impact for your future. Join us on this journey to a sustainable water future at the next International Young Water Professionals Conference in Cape Town from the 10th to the 13th December 2017!

I personally look forward to see your submissions coming in from January 2017 and meeting many interesting YWPs at the Conference, exchange ideas in a pleasant multicultural and fascinating city as Cape Town with a lot of stunning natural beauty and world heritage sites.

Arlinda Ibrahimllari
Chair, IWA Emerging Water Leaders International Steering Committee

The Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee is a representative body of young members (35 and below) that will provide advice to the association about the appropriate ways to serve young professionals needs (eg. Networking, learning, professional development) and interest engage and contribute professionals in IWA’s current activities (programmes, conferences, and specialist groups) at national and international level.


Dear water colleagues and friends

We are excited to invite you to the IWA International Young Water Professional Conference (IYWPC), the 8th edition of this accessible and affordable platform for young professionals starting and or working to develop a water career.

The conference, organized by and for young water professionals, will:

  • Build Connections: by offering social networking events, and provide support in networking through guidance and career fair
  • Build your Leadership: by providing ample professional updating and learning activities for YWPs from all disciplines and organisations (eg. Technical sessions, workshops, career fair, soft skill learning sessions).
  • Help you make an impact: by generating multi-disciplinary and inter-generational dialogue and to exchange good practices and lessons learned, as well as making YWPs realise the impact and potential of their work

IWA aims to empower young talent, like yourselves, to contribute to delivering the solutions for sustainable water management that we are working on. This conference is one of the vehicles in which we support young water professionals to develop themselves to be at the forefront of decision making.

Besides a Must attend event for career progression, you will have fun meeting, networking and building friendships with your passionate peers.

Kind regards

Kirsten de Vette

Learn more about the…

International Water Association

Water underpins every aspect of human and environmental existence. The severe water challenges facing the world today require an unprecedented global response. IWA members and staff are situated in 130 countries worldwide, forming the largest international network of water professionals working towards a water wise world. For Further Information:

South African Young Water Professionals

The South African Young Water Professionals (YWP-ZA) Programme is focused on bringing people working in or interested in the water sector together in a meaningful way. YWP-ZA is a network of people who are passionate about all aspects of water and its intrinsic linkages to people, economies, development, nature, dignity and life itself. For Further Information:

Water Institute of Southern Africa

The WISA vision is the promotion of professional excellence in the water sector, through building expertise, sharing knowledge and improving quality of life. WISA, your professional, comprehensive, independent, volunteer, water sector community institution, that provides diverse membership benefits, and support the Africa water sector in a representative and effective way. It strives to be an effective and efficient organization, subscribing to the principles of its memorandum of incorporation and complying with process of good corporate governance. For Further Information:

Did you know

These conferences are run with the aim to provide an affordable and accessible platform for professional development and learning for young professionals in the water sector. The conferences are organised voluntarily by young water professionals for young water professionals. These young water professionals gain skills – organising, communication, sponsorship, project management, etc. – and build new professional relationships in the process.

Join us in Cape Town!