Water industry celebrates outstanding innovation and leadership at 13th IWA Project Innovation Awards

At the 2022 IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, the water sector celebrated outstanding innovation and leadership in the industry with a gala ceremony for the 18 winners of the six categories of the IWA Project Innovation Awards.

Awarded biennially at the IWA World Water Congress, the Project Innovation Awards recognise and promote excellence and innovation in water management, research and technology. This 13th edition of the Project Innovation Awards (PIA) programme featured six categories with three finalists each. Each category recognised a distinct aspect of water innovation, from breakthroughs in research to innovations in governance.

The 13th IWA Project Innovation Awards attracted a record 203 applications from 52 countries during an open nomination process throughout 2021 and 2022. This scale of interest in the awards programme revealed the breadth of innovation and ambition throughout the IWA network and should be a cause for great optimism across the sector.

Entries were evenly spread across the six award categories, each of which reflected a distinct field of innovation in water management. Every project was independently evaluated by a panel of expert judges according to its innovative nature and key outcomes. Judges also took into account the circumstances in which each project was devised and its potential for broader impact. Following a rigorous and competitive evaluation process, the judging panel selected a top three for each category.

The award categories include the Grand Innovation Award 2022 presented to an outstanding example of innovation in the water sector. This year, the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant from Singapore won the Grand Innovation Award for its unconventional water treatment plant. The plant features a sleek, modern design where water treatment processes are situated underground, freeing up the land at ground level for public and recreational activities. This transforms the plant from a mono-functional infrastructure into a lush park that is rich in biodiversity and supports nature and a variety of wildlife, demonstrating that engineering and design excellence can go hand-in-hand in the push for sustainable urbanisation. The plant can treat either seawater or freshwater depending on the prevailing weather conditions. In dry weather, KMEDP will draw water from the sea to produce desalinated water. When it rains, the plant will draw rainwater collected in the Marina Reservoir to produce potable water. The plant can produce 137,000 cubic metres of drinking water per day, strengthening Singapore’s water supply resilience. The project, which is also Singapore’s fourth desalination plant, began commercial operations in June 2020.


2022 IWA Project Innovation Award Winners

Category: Market-changing Water Technology and Infrastructure

GOLD: Choa Chu Kang Waterworks Membrane Expansion from PUB, Singapore

SILVER: Sustainability and Resource Recovery from Organic Waste: The First Sludge & Food Waste Co-digestion Project in China from Tongji University, China

BRONZE: Unlocking Opportunities In Sanitation: From Poo To Product (P2P) by NAWASSCOAL CO Ltd, Kenya


Category: Performance Improvement and Operational Solutions

GOLD: Changi Water Reclamation Plant Digital Twin by Jacobs

SILVER: Green Square – Enabling Urban Renewal Through Effective Flood Risk Management And Stormwater Harvesting (Climate Change), City of Sydney

BRONZE: Environmentally-friendly Desalination System Concept: Transforming Seawater (LIFE DREAMER), Acciona


Category: Breakthroughs in Research and Development

GOLD: Ferrate(VI)-enabled Emergency And Daily Household Water Treatment by Montclair State University

SILVER: ViviMag: Urban Mining of Iron And Phosphate From Sewage by Wetsus

BRONZE: Australia’s First Biosolids Gasification Facility from Logan City


Category: Exceptional Project Execution and Delivery

GOLD: Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, Keppel Seghers

SILVER: Achieving A Paradigm Shift Of Water Pollution Control And Social Development: Erhai Lake project by China Water Environment Group, Shanghai Jiao Tong University & People’s Government of Dali

BONZE: Groundwater Replenishment Scheme, Water Corporation


Category: Governance, Institutions and Social Enterprise

GOLD: Circular Gavà – Heading Towards The Implementation Of Circular Opportunities In The Territory by CETAQUA

SILVER: Proyecto Agua Segura, Argentina

BRONZE: Perth Water Sensitive Transition Network by Monash Sustainable Development Institute


Category: Smart Systems and the Digital Water Economy

GOLD: Buffalo’s Wastewater Network Optimization Program, Xylem Inc.

SILVER: Data-driven Decision Making – Developing The Data|APX Software Solution by Herning Vand

BRONZE: Digital Engagement & Efficiency Through Collaboration by Moulton Niguel Water District, United States of America




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