IWA chooses Glasgow for 2026

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The International Water Association (IWA) is to bring its 2026 World Water Congress & Exhibition to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, following a collaborative bid that included the venue, VisitScotland, Glasgow Convention Bureau, and its ambassadors in IWA UK.

The World Water Congress & Exhibition represents an important focus for IWA’s work to secure progress on water issues globally. The successful bid was announced as part of recognition of World Water Day, and was supported by the Scottish Government, aligning with the country’s ‘Hydro Nation’ policy agenda which recognises water not only as part of the Scotland’s national identity, but a contributor to its low carbon economy. In addition, the bid team worked with representatives from other UK water organisations, including British Water, Scottish Water, and the Water Industry Forum.

These extended relationships underline the strength of the city’s conference ambassador programme and, with the added weight of support from VisitScotland and the Glasgow Convention Bureau, the team brought to life how conferences within the city benefit from a coordinated approach at national, city and venue level.

Securing of the event also endorsed the continued attraction of Glasgow to those looking to convey a sustainability message, especially following the SEC’s hosting of the COP26 conference in 2021. The bid emphasised the role water plays in combatting climate change, and the importance of the conference in spreading this message.

“IWA is delighted to be able to partner with a city and venue that has sustainability at the very heart of its operations,” commented Dr Marie Whaley, Senior Vice President, International Water Association. “We are thrilled to be bringing our flagship event to the SEC Glasgow in 2026 and are confident Glasgow provides the ideal backdrop to foster relationships and drive discussions which support the global community in transitioning to sustainable water solutions that are robust and flexible in the face of global change pressures.”

“This was the best of Glasgow, demonstrating the close relationships we have at venue, city and national destination level and how these add so much value to conferences that come here,” commented Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales, SEC. “This is exactly the kind of conference we love at the SEC – those that look to carry critical messages around the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming the delegates of IWA to our city.”

“In Glasgow, and in Scotland, collaboration is key,” commented Aileen Crawford, Head of Tourism & Conventions, Glasgow Convention Bureau. “The team approach that secured the IWA conference to our city ensured all partners were able to bring their experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to the fore.”

Commenting on the event, Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, said: “To secure the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition is a huge win for Scotland and I am incredibly proud of the collaborative work with SEC, Glasgow Convention Bureau and the Scottish Government that went into our successful bid. Scotland is a country of innovation and there are a huge number of organisations working within the hydro sector that are creating next-generation products and services, which I hope will be recognised and channelled into the event programme to enhance the delegate learning experience.”

Recent editions of IWA’s World Water Congress & Exhibition have been held in Copenhagen (2022) and Tokyo (2018), with the next edition taking place in Toronto on 11-15 August 2024. Glasgow will host the subsequent edition, in 2026.