Awards in 2019

IWMI at 4th WRC Symposium 2019: IWMI’s MUS project wins two Knowledge Awards

The Water Research Commission of South Africa (WRC), hosted its 4th Symposium during September 11-13, 2019 at the Sandton Convention, Johannesburg. The theme of the symposium was “Innovation in every drop: Managing uncertainty and building capacity through collaboration”. The Symposium served as a dialogue platform for stakeholders to engage on water-related R&D issues. It was also an opportunity for the research and innovation community to showcase research results, outputs and innovations. The Symposium attracted 614 participants from all over the world.

IWMI had a very strong presence throughout the symposium, with Claudia Sadoff, in attendance during the first day, and chairing a session on social innovation. IWMI’s Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS) project, led by Barbara van Koppen, was arguably the most profiled project at symposium. The MUS project won two Knowledge Awards (one in the Community Empowerment category, and another in the Empowerment of Women and Girls category), one of the MUS champions delivered the keynote address at the awards dinner; and the team coordinated a truly integrated session comprising of community beneficiaries, local government, donors and the research community. IWMI was also recognized as a leading partner in water governance and the WEF nexus. In the governance session, Inga Jacobs-Mata presented on the state of water governance R&D in South Africa, a key support project for the WRC in guiding water governance R&D investments, and Barbara van Koppen was acknowledged as the top water governance publisher in South Africa. In the WEF nexus session, Luxon Nhamo’s contribution to operationalizing the nexus was recognized as a core part of a strengthening partnership with the WRC. Our small but impactful exhibition stand got a surprise visit by the new Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo.


IWMI’s Dr Miriam Otoo is the Winner of the 2019 IWA Development Award for Research.

The Award announced at the Opening Ceremony of the International Water Association (IWA) Water and Development Congress in Colombo, Sri Lanka acknowledges Miriam’s outstanding contribution to research in the field of water and sanitation in low and mid income countries. The IWA recognition is awarded every two years and this is the second time that the same research team in IWMI has won this award.

Commenting on this, Dr Pay Drechsel, Program Leader at IWMI said “We are very happy for Miriam to have received this important recognition for her contribution to resource recovery and reuse (RRR) in the sanitation-agriculture interface. Miriam helped us immensely spearheading a business approach to RRR and transforming it into curricula for uptake by business and engineering schools in Europe, Asia and Africa”.


United Nations recognizes IWMI’s innovative satellite-based disaster risk management

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has recognized IWMI for its efforts in promoting the use of space technology for disaster risk reduction and sustainable use of satellite data in disaster risk management.

IWMI was awarded this September for its role as a Regional Support Office under the United Nations Space-based information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) program. IWMI became UN-SPIDER’s 17th Regional Support Office in 2015 and promotes innovation in satellite-based flood insurance, drought monitoring and management and capacity building to build stakeholders’ disaster resilience.

Giriraj Amarnath, research group leader for Water Risks and Disasters (WRD) at IWMI, received the award on behalf of the organization at the 9th annual UN-SPIDER conference in Beijing on September 11, 2019.

IWMI’s space-based monitoring and mapping uses satellite data and algorithms to predict and assess floods and droughts, helping combat food-related crop loss and supplement disaster relief. Key products of this research include bundled solutions with insurance and seed systems to help compensate farmers for flood-related agricultural loss and the South Asia Drought Monitoring System (SADMS) to map droughts and provide targeted relief in affected regions.

Together, these efforts address increasing global climate variability as well as contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

IWMI would like to thank the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) for supporting this research.



IWMI’s Alok Sikka receives prestigious achievement award

IWMI’s Alok Sikka receives prestigious achievement award

The Indian Association of Soil and Water Conservationists (IASWC) has awarded its Life Time Achievement Award for 2018 to Alok Sikka, IWMI’s India Representative, in recognition of his important contributions to conservation and management of soil and water resources. The award ceremony took place at a national conference of the IASWC, titled “Farmers First for Conserving Soil and Water Resources in Eastern Region,” held on February 6-8, at Koraput, Odisha.

IWMI’s Alok Sikka receives prestigious achievement awardEstablished in 1972 at Dehradun, the IASWC is a non-profit entity that encourages wise land-use planning. The IASWC serves as a forum for scientists, conservation professionals, administrators and policymakers to assess needs for soil and water conservation and watershed management. IASWC members play important roles in enhancing utilization of the country’s renewable and non-renewable resources, creating a better understanding of natural ecosystem processes and shaping policies and laws that influence the use of soil, water and vegetation. The IASWC honors professionals with its Life Time Achievement Award, based on their contributions to research and their service in the field of soil and water conservation.