The International Water Association (IWA) will bring its 2026 World Water Congress & Exhibition to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, following a collaborative bid that included the venue, Visit Scotland, Glasgow Convention Bureau, and its ambassadors in IWA UK.
The World Water Congress & Exhibition represents an essential focus for IWA’s work to secure progress on water issues globally, and the bid was announced as part of the recognition of World Water Day. It was supported by the Scottish Government, aligning with the country’s ‘Hydro Nation’ policy agenda, recognising water as part of Scotland’s national identity and 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. With the added weight of support from Visit Scotland and the Glasgow Convention Bureau, the team brought to life how conferences within the city benefit from a coordinated approach at the national, city and venue level.
Securing 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 partner with a city and venue that has sustainability at the heart of its operations,” says Dr Marie Whaley, Senior Vice President International Water Association. “We 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.”
Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales, SEC: “This was the best of Glasgow, demonstrating our close relationships at the venue, city and national destination level and how these add so much value to conferences that come here. This is exactly the kind of conference we love at the SEC, which aims to carry critical messages worldwide.”
“Collaboration is key in Glasgow and Scotland,” says 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.”
Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at Visit Scotland: “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 many organisations working within the hydro sector are creating next-generation products and services, which 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 in Toronto on 11–15 August 2024.