Current press releases - DWA

Current press releases

Water management, digitalisation, sustainable cities

DWA focal points at IFAT 2024

Hennef. Water management, law and politics, topics from water management practice and solutions for existing and future challenges are the main focus of the IFAT trade fair presence of the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA). They will be complemented by professional and university competitions and other elements. The European Water Association (EWA), of which the DWA is a member, will also be active on site.

New at the trade fair: the DWA's Spotlight Area on the topic of digitalisation in the water sector. Best-practice models will show how digital technologies, such as the "Digital Twin" or the app of the future initiative Klima.Werk, are being used.

Another part of the DWA package: solution tours with different thematic focuses to various trade fair stands. The tours provide specific insights into the respective exhibitor portfolio on the topics of the tours.

The exhibition for environmental technologies will take place in Munich from 13 to 17 May 2024.

Water management, law and politics

The "Day of Resilient Municipalities", organised by the DWA in cooperation with the leading municipal associations Deutscher Städtetag (DSt), Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund (DStGB) and Deutscher Landkreistag (DLT) as well as the Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches (DVGW) and the Verband kommunaler Unternehmen (VKU), is all about the city in transition. The topics of climate adaptation, risk management and the protection of critical infrastructures, infrastructure maintenance and expansion in cities and municipalities are the focus here.

In the session "European Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive: Changes and effects on wastewater treatment", developments and decisions on the implementation of the Urban Wastewater Directive will be explained and discussed from a legal, technical and operational perspective. The directive has been comprehensively revised after more than 30 years and the compromise from Brussels is now available. The changes will have a significant impact on wastewater treatment in Europe, particularly for the removal of anthropogenic trace substances, for increasing energy efficiency and energy generation at municipal wastewater treatment plants or for the treatment of mixed water.

The approval of projects in Germany is usually a lengthy process. The session "Accelerating approval processes: Challenges and solutions for water management projects" deals with formal and substantive legal solutions as well as measures and instruments that help to speed up approval procedures while meeting environmental protection requirements.

The phase-out of coal mining also has an impact on water bodies. The session " Mining consequences. Germany's coal phase-out: water management" focusses on transnational water management, including the question of water and nature conservation law. How a water association deals with the consequences of mining and successfully fulfils its mandate in accordance with the European Union's Water Framework Directive will also be addressed.

The future of water: science and practice

The Innovation Forum is a programme that brings together practice and science. This year it is focussing on three main topics.

"Innovation Forum Block 1: Wastewater monitoring - experiences, challenges, prospects" presents activities in Europe and Germany for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. Questions of data evaluation and utilisation by health authorities will be addressed. As the revised EU Urban Wastewater Directive provides for the extension of monitoring to other pathogens, this aspect will also be considered.

"Innovation Forum Block 2: Water Technologies, Water reuse " looks at projects for the reuse of treated municipal wastewater, the recycling of industrial water and the utilisation of treated saline groundwater and surface water.

"Innovation Forum Block 3: Water4all - Innovations for a secure water supply" focusses on novel approaches for coping with extreme hydrological events such as heavy rainfall, floods and droughts.

Other DWA offerings use best-practice examples to show solutions for water management issues. "BIM in water management: Practical insights and potential" highlights the current status of the implementation and application of Building Information Modelling in water management. The event offers insights into a wide range of possible applications and shows how this technology can help to increase efficiency and profitability in the industry.

The session " Waterwise City Development: water awareness for liveable cities and sustainable living spaces" presents examples from Germany and around the world that show what is possible when different disciplines work together to promote the water-conscious reorganisation of our cities.

For a long time, the Emscher was considered the dirtiest river in Germany. Today, it flows above ground without sewage. The Emscher conversion - a blueprint for sustainable landscape design. The session "From dirty river to lifeline: the successful reorganisation of the Emscher" shows how the quality of life for people can be successfully improved.

The session "Sewage sludge utilisation and phosphorus recovery: challenges and solutions" deals with the phase-out of soil-related sewage sludge utilisation and the problem that phosphorus can initially only be recycled from around 40 percent of the sewage sludge ash produced, as market-ready processes are not yet sufficiently available. The question of what is needed to fulfil the requirements of the Sewage Sludge Ordinance is discussed.

The session "Oil Damage Control" will use the example of various oil spills to present suitable measures that prepare the emergency services for the challenges of such scenarios. The DWA also has two cross-cutting topics on offer.

The session "Women in the water sector: career planning, work-life balance and equal opportunities in focus" will show the role of mentoring as a tool for integrating women into the water sector. Interactive insights will illustrate how women make a significant contribution to solving the shortage of skilled labour.

The session "The fascination of water - imparting knowledge, creating enthusiasm" will focus on best-practice examples and innovative ideas in the field of social media: the very successful integration of corporate influencers from the city of Munich, the DWA skilled labour and image campaign "wasser-allesklar" and "Wassernerd", the new water knowledge format from Gelsenwasser.

Demonstrations of vocational and university education

The vocational competitions "World Water Skills" (WWS) for wastewater technology specialists and "Water Skills Germany" (WSG) for trainees in the industry are both entertaining and informative. The Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology is now in its seventh round. The competitions aim to raise awareness of the profession and the industry, motivate committed young professionals and attract new ones. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) has once again taken over the patronage of the competitions.

The "World University Challenge", an international university competition for prospective academics, is being held for the fifth time. German and international student teams compete against each other in various disciplines and demonstrate their skills in developing strategies for quality assurance, occupational safety, health and environmental protection at work.

With the World University Challenge, the DWA aims to promote young talent and draw the attention of companies to qualified junior staff. The patron of the university competition is the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). German and international teams can still apply to the DWA for participation until 2 April 2024: World University Challenge

Accompanying offers

Guided "solution tours" to various exhibitors complement the DWA's technical programme. They impart knowledge and bring trade fair visitors and companies into dialogue. The DWA offers tours on the topics of "Water reuse: opportunities and challenges", "The future of sewage sludge and phosphorus recovery" and " Water-sensitive Cities for a better quality of life".

Together with the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), the DWA is organising an "Introduction to the German water sector" for young professionals, career changers and foreign guests. It provides insights into the strengths, potential and challenges of the German water industry in general, facts and figures on drinking water and wastewater, legal bases, standards, technologies, human resources, benchmarks and access strategies. It also provides information on technical aspects of water supply in Germany, developments in recent decades and their special features.

With the "Young Water Professionals' Programme", the DWA offers young professionals from Germany and abroad the opportunity to visit IFAT, expand their network and meet potential employers. Young professionals, students and trainees also have an anchor point at the "Young Professionals' Meeting of the Associations". The moderated session, a joint event organised by the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), the International Water Association (IWA), the German Pipeline Construction Association (rbv) and the DWA, will focus on industry topics, entry into the professional world of the water and energy industry and networking.

The European Water Association (EWA) is bringing together scientists and experts at the "International Symposium" to discuss water in the Green Deal. "Invest in Water - Invest in Security" is another focus. Seawater desalination, water reuse and "Water Qualification in Europe: the challenge ahead" are further topics. The "3rd International Conference on Water Management in Changing Conditions" (WMCC 2024) will take place at IFAT for the first time. Details: EWA website

DWA exhibition stands

The two trade fair stands are an important part of the DWA programme. The association stand in the West Entrance Hall provides information about the DWA and the industry. National and international associations present themselves in the immediate vicinity of the DWA. Delegations from universities, cooperation partners and institutions will find dialogue partners. Individual educational counselling is also available.

Innovations from the fields of publishing and education will be presented in the Digital Corner. The DWA rules and regulations and other publications, software and teaching and learning materials will be available in print or digitally. Anyone wishing to test digital applications such as VR glasses, e-learning modules or simulation software will also find the right contact persons in the Digital Corner and with the partners of the Digital Academy. There will also be an information area on the "wasser-allesklar" image and young talent campaign.

The DWA and 21 DWA member companies will be presenting themselves at the joint stand in Hall B 2. The DWA training programme and other materials can be viewed. Individual qualification consultations are possible.

An overview of the DWA trade fair presence with details of locations and times as well as other sessions not mentioned here in the two lecture areas, the DWA Stages, can be found at

Day tickets are available free of charge for media representatives with the code "DWA_Presse": Contact: Sabrina Prentzel, phone: 02242 872-116, e-mail:

William Lindley Ring awarded to Catarina de Albuquerque

Water sector recognizes Portuguese human rights activist

April 2023. The German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) is honoring Catarina de Albuquerque with the William Lindley Ring. The Portuguese lawyer and human rights activist is the sixth person to receive the association’s William Lindley Ring, which was first awarded in 1998. The DWA is bestowing this honor in recognition of the key role that she played in the United Nations General Assembly acknowledging access to safe drinking water and sanitation as human rights. Albuquerque also made an essential contribution towards these rights being added to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Catarina de Albuquerque is currently Chief Executive Officer of Sanitation and Water for All. Headquartered in UNICEF in New York, this multi-stakeholder partnership brings together partners around the globe in support of the goal of sanitation and water for all. The award ceremony will take place during the DWA’s Berlin Dialog, set to take place on September 18 and 19, 2023. At the event, she will also hold a presentation on the impacts of these human rights.

Catarina de Albuquerque attended the German International School in Lisbon before studying law in Lisbon. After earning a master’s degree in law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, she first came in touch with the United Nations. In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council appointed her as the first UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. In 2010, she played a key role in access to clean drinking water and sanitation being recognized as human rights by the United Nations General Assembly. Albuquerque began working for Sanitation for All in 2014 and became its first Chief Executive Officer in 2018. The Portuguese Parliament has awarded her the Human Rights Gold Medal, and the Portuguese President honored her with the country’s Order of Merit.

Catarina de Albuquerque speaks fluent German, among other languages, and is delighted to have been awarded the William Lindley Ring. Responding to the announcement, Catarina de Albuquerque said: “I'm honored to receive this recognition. It reflects not only my own achievements, but those of all the partners of Sanitation and Water for All, who are tirelessly advocating the human rights to water and sanitation. The realization of these rights is an ongoing joint effort – to increase political will, promote accountability, fight inequalities - and it matters with this work is publicly recognized and valued.”

The DWA’s President, Professor Uli Paetzel, paid tribute to Catarina de Albu-querque on behalf of the entire DWA: "Time and again, it is the strong commitment shown by individuals that moves the world forward and makes it a better place. It is largely thanks to Catarina de Albuquerque that access to drinking water has become a human right. All of us, not just our fellow human beings in the global South, owe her and like-minded people a great deal. We recognize Catarina de Albuquerque as a prominent figure on behalf of ourselves and others.”

William Lindley – a pioneer in technical hygiene

The William Lindley Ring is awarded in memory of engineer William Lindley (1808-1900). Born in London, Lindley built river tunnels, railways, gas and waterworks, public baths and wash houses. He is mainly known for his work on sewage systems and drinking water supply in response to the cholera epidemics seen in the first half of the 19th century. He moved to Hamburg in 1824, where he built the first sewer system in mainland Europe in 1842. Later, he performed additional pioneering work to advance sanitation in Frankfurt am Main, Warsaw, Pest, Düsseldorf, Basel and on Helgoland before finally retiring to London in 1879.

Promoting talent, also internationally

German wastewater team takes part in Operations Challenge in Louisana

29 September 2022. Only in May, the national WaterSkills of the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) took place during the IFAT industrial trade fair in Munich, and now the DWA is sending a German team of wastewater professionals to the professional competition of the American sister organisation Water Environment Federation (WEF) in New Orleans. From 9 to 12 October 2022, the German wastewater professionals will compete with their US colleagues in the Operations Challenge during Weftec, the largest technology trade fair in the USA, in order to draw attention to the various activities in the environmental technology professions, but also to committed employees, and thus to promote the industry.

Partnership in wastewater technology

DWA has been involved in competitive learning since 2010. In 2015, it sent its first team to the American competition, and two US teams have since taken part in WaterSkills in Munich. In return, this year four German professionals will have the opportunity to prove their skills with the Americans. Lukas Kohl and Marco Lederer (Stadtentwässerung und Umweltanalytik Nuremberg), Sophia Nerrether (Berliner Wasserbetriebe) and Achim Ziethen (Stadtentwässerungsbetrieb Düsseldorf) will be accompanied by team captain Michael Dörr and jury member Peter Albrecht (both DWA expert committee "Professional Competitions").

Same goals and learning from each other

The Operations Challenge of the WEF and the Water Skills of the DWA pursue the same goal: they want to promote professional motivation, set quality standards and promote continuous training, because wastewater specialists bear great responsibility for the protection of water bodies. The activities of wastewater specialists are varied and involve a lot of high-tech. This is also reflected in the competition, which takes place in several disciplines: Control of a wastewater treatment plant process, use of virtual reality, wastewater analysis, occupational safety, maintenance of work equipment and connecting pipes (pipe-tapping). The idea of organising professional competitions in wastewater technology came from the Water Environment Federation. The DWA has taken up this idea and brought it to Germany.

Industry support needed

Competitive learning is becoming more and more common in the wastewater sector. Without the support of the sending companies or financial help from sponsors, however, the vocational competitions would not be possible. The DWA would therefore like to thank the companies Huber SE, KSB SE & Co. KGaA, Pallon AG, Reid Lifting and Milwaukee.

Impressions of the Operations Challenge for wastewater technology professionals are also available on the DWA's social media channels: Facebook (, LinkedIn, Twitter (dwa_ev) and Instagram (dwa_waterskills). From 5 October 2022, DWA will publish the competition times and a link to the live stream on its homepage (

Contact: Ann-Kathrin Braeunig, phone: 02242 872-240, email:

Editor: Alexandra Bartschat

DWA Dialogue Berlin. Water management and climate change

Experts discuss weather extremes and adaptation strategies

25 August 2022. Climate change and climate protection are the focus of this year's DWA Dialogue Berlin organised by the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA). The experts and executives of the German water industry will meet in the German capital on 26/27 September 2022 to exchange ideas with scientists and politicians on strategies for overcoming the climate crisis. Among them: Dr Bettina Hoffmann (Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment), Alexander Baumann (Mayor of Ehingen), Dr. Christine Wilcken (Association of German Cities) and Muhanad Al-Halak (Member of the German Bundestag, Environment Committee). The keynote speech on the consequences of climate change will be given by Professor Dr Markus Rex, head of the Arctic expedition MOSAiC.

The motto of the event "Water Management in Times of Climate Change" runs through the entire conference programme. A panel discussion will highlight questions on the topic of "Water in the City of Tomorrow". This will be based on the keynote speeches "Examples of a forward-looking blue-green infrastructure in Germany" and "Approaches to the further development of the sponge city concept in Germany and abroad". In addition, the "Challenge of Climate Adaptation" will be classified and discussed on the basis of the "Effects of Climate Change on Weather Extremes", "Consequences of Climate Change on Water Ecology" and "Action Strategies for the Protection of Critical Infrastructures in Times of Climate Change". Another focus is on "Water Management on the Way to Climate Neutrality", here in particular "Climate Neutrality. Relevance and potentials of urban water management" and "Practical examples: Water utilities on the path to climate neutrality".

Young DWA is also actively involved in the programme again this year. Among other things, the young DWA members will moderate the panel discussion on Monday afternoon. The Young DWA group meeting is at the start of the Dialogue event on the morning of the same day. The DWA Dialogue Berlin itself starts with the opening by DWA President Professor Dr Uli Paetzel at 2.30 pm. It ends in the afternoon of the following day with the 75th Annual General Meeting of the DWA.

Parallel to the conference, selected companies will present their products and services for the industry. It is also possible to participate in the conference online.

Participation in the DWA Dialogue Berlin costs 620 euros, DWA members pay 520 euros, members up to 35 years 140 euros.

The venue is the Umweltforum Berlin, Pufendorfstraße 11, 10249 Berlin.

The conference programme and additional information can be found at www.dwa. de/dialog-berlin.

Contact: Sabrina Prentzel, phone: 02242 872-116, email: