IWA Young Water Professionals Conference

IWA Young Water Professionals Conference

A reflection by Carmina Rivera and Charity Mundava, 2018 Vera Thiess fellows.

Global issues we face today are an urgent call for action and better decision-making for the common good of present and future generations. For this reason, the 9th International Water Association Young Water Professionals Conference (IWA YWP) was held from 23-27 June 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The main goal of the IWA YWP Conference is “to provide tangible support to the empowerment of young talent in the water sector by connecting, developing, and recognising emerging talent.” This helps to inspire and empower early career water professionals, and to gear up to be future leaders. The conference theme was around “Building capacity and making impact”. The International RiverFoundation was represented by Vera Thiess Fellows, Carmina Rivera and Charity Mundava.

The IWA YWP Conference was enriching and very useful for us. There was a good balance of technical presentations and workshops covering topics from urban water, wastewater treatment, and sanitation to career development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference attracted a diverse range of individuals with a shared passion for water and improving livelihoods. It provided a platform to discuss solutions for dire water issues. We collaborated with peers on technology driven innovation to create smart water ecosystems in the face of dwindling fresh water sources. We realised for this happen, there is a need for smart leadership at the city and regional levels. We need to be able to network across all sectors, government, industry and academia.

The networking was awesome. It was great to see familiar and new faces. For the technical tour we visited a waste water treatment plant and the spectacular Niagra Falls. One of our key take-aways was the importance of collective action towards incremental improvements rather than drastic and unsustainable changes. A combination of strong leadership and good governance are key to great ideas rooted in addressing various water challenges in communities. For more detail, be sure to attend our talks at the International Riversymposium this October!

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