IWA Project Innovation Awards

The Project Innovation Awards (PIAs) recognise excellence and innovation in the global water sector.

In 2018 the 12th edition the PIAs keeps with IWA’s vision of a Water-Wise World, “a world in which water is wisely managed to satisfy the needs of human activities and ecosystems in an equitable and sustainable way”. IWA runs the PIAs to promote excellence and innovation in water projects throughout the world, underlining IWA’s belief that our shared water challenges can be overcome through innovative and practical solutions.

Could you be the next IWA awardee?

Have you been part of a team working on an inspiring, innovative and impactful water project? Has your organisation collaborated on or led a project which has had a significant, positive and demonstrable impact? Then you could be our next Project Innovation Awards winner!

Applications open in January for the 2018 Project Innovation Awards, which will be presented during IWA’s World Water Congress & Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan from 16-21 September 2018.


The PIAs are open to applications from individuals, companies, organizations, public bodies or any combination of the above. Applicants do not have to be members of IWA.

Winning Projects

One prize will be awarded for each project category.
The category winners will automatically advance to the global awards round to compete for the PIA Grand Award

Award Categories

There are five entry categories for the 2018 Awards

1. Applied Research

2. Design

3. Operations & Management

4. Planning

5. Marketing and Communications

The judging criteria are currently being finalised and will be published shortly. Check back soon for more information.


The PIAs are a great opportunity to promote your brand to an exclusive global audience of water professionals.

For sponsorship enquiries please contact Chloe Menhinick at chloe.menhinick@iwahq.org.

2016 PIA

On Wednesday, October 12, 2016, water professionals from across the globe came together to celebrate outstanding water innovators at the Rydges South Bank in Brisbane, Australia, for the tenth anniversary edition of the IWA Project Innovation Awards.

The 2016 PIA Grand Award was awarded to Rand Water for their project “Let’s be Water Wise”. 

Click here to view photos from the 2016 PIA Awards Reception.

Congratulations to our 2016 PIA award-winners!

2016 PIA
Marketing & Communications Award

Let’s be Water Wise

“We are the Water Wise guys, we sing and dance,
It’s no real surprise we all take a chance, to share our words of love and respect,
Cos we all know that water we must respect. Hey water you give us life,
And everybody knows we need you to survive,
Let’s be Water Wise! Let’s be Water Wise! Come on everybody let’s be Water Wise”
(“Let’s be Water Wise” Song)

“Water Wise” is Rand Water’s environmental brand. This campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of the value of water and the need to use it wisely. South Africa is a water stressed country, and the water resources are under pressure from a growing population, ongoing development, pollution, wetland destruction, invasive plants and the effects of global warming. The amount of available water remains the same, and despite plans to increase storage capacity through new dams or water transfer schemes, predictions are that the demand for water will outstrip supply by 2025.

The only answer to this dilemma lies in changing people’s attitude and their behaviour to use water wisely. Rand Water, a non-profit public utility based in Gauteng, is conducting water conservation education through the brand, i.e. interactive exhibitions; sponsorship of garden trophies; educational display gardens; flyers, brochures, posters, CDs and a website; advertorials in media; edutaining programmes for schools; etc.

These marketing tools are vital in spreading the Water Wise message and encouraging Rand Water’s customers and South Africa to live a Water Wise lifestyle.

The First Zero Discharge Demonstration Project of Papermaking Wastewater in China

In the past 30 years, China’s industrial economy has achieved great development. However, the governance on water environment in industrial parks was relatively backward. Water pollution has approached their environmental capacities. It is of great necessity to control water pollution in industrial parks.

In April 2014, the zero discharge demonstration project of papermaking wastewater was the first of its kind to be implemented in Nantong China, which has a daily disposal of 17,500 tons of wastewater.

Six months later, on October 28, 2014, Zhejiang Kaichuang Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. accomplished the entire project and achieved the first zero discharge demonstration project of papermaking wastewater.

Zhejiang Kaichuang Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. have worked through a great deal of technical problems in this project with some independent innovations. Most notably, the application of a Multistage Membrane Separation system and a fourth-generation Creflux Concrete-Membrane have contributed greatly to achieve this project.

This project has remarkable effects on energy conservation and emission reduction. Each year, it makes a great contribution to society and the environment, by reducing 6,387,500 tons in papermaking wastewater, and cuts down the COD emissions by 51,100 tons. Meanwhile, it has achieved highly efficient use of wastewater by saving 6,259,800 tons of tap water.

This project was the first zero discharge project of papermaking wastewater in over ten thousand tons level in China, which has been a model for other projects in wastewater reduction and efficient reuse of industrial water. 

2016 PIA
Applied Research Award

Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction Project

There are over $500bn worth of critical pipe assets in Australia, the UK and US alone. Water authorities urgently needed the capability to predict where and when major failures of critical pipes would occur to put effective, long term preventative measures in place.

The AU$16m, six-year international research collaboration led by Sydney Water includes the UK Water Industry Research Ltd, Water Research Foundation of the USA, Water Corporation (WA), City West Water, Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, South Australia Water Corporation, Queensland Urban Utilities, South East Water Ltd, and Hunter Water Corporation. On the research side, Monash University leads, supported by University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle.

The project’s aim was to improve prediction of pipe failure, to reduce costs, improve reliability and customer service.

The project has produced significant outcomes to improve water pipe inspection and prediction of pipe failure to reduce renewal/maintenance costs and to improve reliability and customer service. Specifically, it has produced innovative models to predict the probability of pipe failure verified through field case studies, a world first calibrated model to predict the long-term exterior corrosion of cast iron pipes, and enhanced interpretations of existing pipe CA tool results though innovative machine learning techniques.  It also produced unique research infrastructure, a 1.2km long research pipe test bed and an automated pipe burst testing facility.

As a result, the international water community can address critical pipe failure issues more accurately, efficiently and economically, with better customer service.

2016 PIA
Operations & Management Award

Digital Innovation in Local government

Water & Waste Services (WWS) is a commercialised business unit of Mackay Regional Council (MRC), responsible for the provision of quality, cost effective and environmentally sustainable water services to the Mackay region.  High population growth over the past decade has created several challenges for Mackay’s Water and Waste Services (WWS), resulting in tariff growth well in excess of inflation rates. Recognising that continued high tariff increases are not sustainable, WWS adopted a strategy of incorporating and prioritising non-capital solutions – a demand management program that features a ground breaking initiative, the installation of automated metering infrastructure (AMI) and the development of MiWater, consumption monitoring software including a free community portal, myh2o, to provide council and its residents with detailed information on their water consumption patterns and habits to help them make informed and better decisions on their water usage.  The software uses a range of data analytic techniques to help inform the way we provide information to our customers. 

An early case study identified that by investigating non-capital solutions and investing in new technologies to better understand the network could achieve significant savings.  As a result of the project, Mackay Regional Council has been able to defer $100 million in capital expenditure and reduce the forward price path of water to $500 per customer. In parallel, the council also learned how best to communicate with customers to change their water use behaviour.

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