December 10, 2017 Society

Young water leaders gather in Cape Town to find solutions for an increasingly water scarce future

Over 500 young water sector leaders from around the world will meet this week in Cape Town, South Africa, to find solutions to the world’s growing water challenges, some of the most critical issues confronting the planet today. The 8th IWA International Young Water Professionals Conference (1o – 13 December) brings together water science and research with the public and private sectors, and policy makers, to drive water cooperation and water solutions that can be applied globally.

Young professionals need to be at the forefront of delivering water solutions. The sector requires new innovative, multidisciplinary thinking, and emerging water leaders are required. Hosted in Cape Town, the conference provides a unique opportunity for international attendees to learn from the South African experience, and to bring their knowledge and experiences to the conference.

“The water sector is critical to ensuring a sustainable water future for all, but the sector faces a human resources crisis, particularly in low- and middle-income countries”, says Kirsten de Vette of the International Water Association. “The water sector needs to attract, engage and retain Young Water Professionals as one of the key contributions to solving the growing water crisis. They are current and future leaders who are critical to delivering the solutions for a sustainable water future.”

The International Young Water Professionals Conference is the leading global event bringing together young water leaders from around the world. The event provides a platform to debate the challenges and solutions facing the sector and the role of young professionals within it. It offers learning and professional development opportunities; and enables networking amongst young professionals. The event bridges the gap between the science, practice and policy of water management, to deliver practical solutions that help achieve the globally agreed 2030 Sustainable Development Goal vision for water.

“We have a significant opportunity to ensure a sustainable water future. Fresh water is critical for human wellbeing, as well as for healthy ecosystems and economic growth. Yet water scarcity, as Cape Town knows from its current prolonged drought, is increasingly the reality. Globally, water resources are facing unprecedented pressures”, says Lloyd Fisher-Jeffes, Conference Chair. “This meeting is an opportunity for young professionals from around the world to debate the solutions to the emerging water crisis.”

The International Young Water Professionals Conference features a wide range of experts from all areas of the water and development sectors. Thought leaders speaking at the Congress include:

  • Leading expert on Smart Water Systems, Gustaf Olsson of Lund University, Sweden;
  • International water expert, Diane d’Arras, President of the International Water Association.
  • Chair of the Board of Rand Water, Faith Matshidiso Hashatse, who heads one of South Africa’s leading water utilities;
  • Richard Ashley, Director of EcoFutures, who will be discussing “Economics, so called nature based solutions and uncertainty”;
  • Theoretical physicist and Head of Innovation at SAP Africa, Adriana Marais, one of the 100 Mars One Project astronaut candidates.


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 interna... Read full biography