Water, sanitation, and climate resilience – keys to a water-wise future

The International Water Association’s Water and Development Congress & Exhibition (WDCE) 2023 will once again deliver a comprehensive programme focused on the water-related needs of low- and middle-income countries.

With an overarching theme of water, sanitation, and climate resilience – keys to a water-wise future, the 2023 edition will present solutions spanning water and sanitation services, the role of water in urban areas, the links between cities and basins, and the opportunities to achieve climate resilience.

Huge investments are being directed towards water and sanitation infrastructure, particularly in the Global South, and the event will encourage participants to share knowledge on innovations in science and practice, highlighting the opportunities of securing new and effective solutions in water and sanitation policy, technology, and management.

The event will feature keynote addresses by leading sector figures, specially invited to share their experiences in shaping and delivering solutions. The programme will also provide a unique platform for water professionals to present and share their recent findings and insights. This will give you an opportunity to:

  • Create new, inspiring solutions to the world’s water development challenges
  • Validate and disseminate work by presenting it during a world-class Congress
  • Learn and grow professionally through privileged access to the best content, cross-sector knowledge, and diverse experiences
  • Expand your network and meet new professional partners by engaging with the leading water experts

Preliminary Programme

Overview of the technical sessions, workshops and key features to plan your week in Kigali

Programme Features

Programme features include a High-Level Summit, the Utility Leaders Forum, the Regulators Forum, the Emerging Water Leaders Forum, and a special new-format activity focused on innovation. For a glimpse of the programme’s outline and to plan your week accordingly, please see the programme overview.

Key dates

  • Online registration opens 20 July 2023
  • Authors notification 7 August 2023
  • Deadline for accepted presenters to register / supply full papers 24 September 2023

Presenters information and templates

To be part of the official technical programme, all those who successfully provided an initial submission are required to register for the Congress and provide a full paper. The templates and guides for presenters can be found here on the side.

Meet inspiring thought leaders

“I think there are many aspects of progress in water and sanitation services that we can showcase… The conversation at the Congress will provide important opportunities for stakeholder dialogue. The plenary sessions and the technical sessions are really important for stakeholders and partners to learn the principles and connect with one another. The Congress creates an incredible energy, and this is something we can build on to progress change…

Africa is not waiting for landline solutions. We now have digital platforms and infrastructure that almost everyone can access. Africa has the opportunity to rethink and find new solutions to complement or close the gap when centralised services are not the best response. As we innovate, we must also build in resilience to climate change.”

Doulaye Kone

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA
Programme Committee chair 

“Countries in the Global South are at different stages of development, with some currently facing severe water crises. The IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition offers a platform for countries in the Global South to engage in mutual learning and exchange. The wealth of their first-hand experiences and lessons learned can ignite sparks of inspiration and serve as seeds for innovation in other nations.

“I look forward to a successful event that will foster greater consensus on water-related issues, generate actionable plans, and create abundant opportunities for collaboration.”

Min Yang

National Engineering Research Center of Industrial Wastewater Detoxication and Resource Recovery, China
Programme Committee member

“The Water and Development Congress & Exhibition is significant, particularly for low- and middle-income countries which struggle with water scarcity. The event congregates a diverse pool of water and sanitation experts, practitioners, and entrepreneurs, providing an opportunity to examine challenges, share success stories, discuss the latest technologies to address climate change, and build partnerships. The event will also highlight evolving policy, governance and financing mechanisms for international development. ”

Osward M. Chanda

African Development Bank, Côte d’Ivoire
Programme Committee member

I can’t wait for service providers and researchers to get together and discuss practical strategies to improve water and sanitation services among the poorest. Innovation combined with pragmatism is what we need to make these services universal and equitable.

Caroline Delaire

Aquaya, France
Programme Committee member

“The IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition in Rwanda will be a fantastic opportunity to make progress on water and sanitation in low- and middle- income countries. Lots of investments are being channelled towards water and sanitation infrastructure in the Global South, so it’s necessary to focus on reliable technologies, good policies, and efficient management. The Water and Development Congress in December will be an excellent place to gain relevant knowledge and experience. ”

Marcelo Kenji Miki

Sabesp, Brazil
Programme Committee member

Topics & thematic tracks

The programme will showcase global best practice, applied research, policy developments and solutions relating to challenges faced by water professionals in low- and middle-income countries. The topics and five broad thematic tracks are listed below:


  • Circular economy
  • Climate smart approaches to water and sanitation
  • Digital transformation
  • Intermittent water supply and the quest for 24/7
  • Inclusive urban sanitation
  • Inclusiveness and equality
  • Innovation in technology and policy
  • Nature-based solutions in supply, sanitation, and stormwater
  • Partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration
  • Water and sanitation safety plans


  • Drinking water treatment and supply
  • Wastewater treatment and sanitation services
  • Integrated water management and planning
  • Utility management and operation
  • Governance and finance