About the awards

Table of contents


3.6 billion people

An estimated 3.6 billion people, nearly half the global population, live in areas that are potentially water- scarce at least one month per year. As the world’s population reaches 9 billion, demand will require a 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in already- strained water withdrawals. Poor water quality means that much of the available water is not suitable for use. Climate change is disrupting weather patterns, leading to extreme weather events (both droughts and floods), unpredictable water availability, exacerbating water scarcity and further contaminating water supplies.

The world faces multiple, interrelated, and simultaneous transitions in food; cities; and energy. Energy and water are more interconnected than ever – significant amounts of water are needed in almost all energy generation processes. Conversely, the water sector needs energy to extract, treat and transport water. Both energy and water are used in the production of crops, including those used to generate energy through biofuels.

Seas, surface waters, and groundwater form a system that provides the foundation for life as well as for economy. This source-to-sea system is threatened by climate change. Good water governance is key for increasing the resilient of water societies to climate change.

Water scarcity

Water scarcity has enormous knock-on impacts throughout the economy. Managing water is clearly a development and growth priority for countries. However, currently the progress on SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation is badly off track; this affects progress in achieving other water-related, such as SDG 1 on poverty, SDG 13 on climate resilience and SDG 14 on sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. Progress needs to quadruple in order to meet the Global Goals. Governments are working hard to ensure water access to all the diverse stakeholders, public and private; however, quadrupling of momentum cannot happen from governments alone. Innovations that involve all stakeholders, public, private, and communities must be identified and scaled up to drive a momentum change for a water secure and climate resilient world. Promising climate innovations must be identified and nurtured to have significant impact on today’s water challenges and lead to tomorrow’s water-secure world.

The awards

What is it?

Water Changemaker Awards2023 is a global initiative that aims to recognise high-level commitment and leadership for climate resilient water investments and showcase the most promising climate resilient innovations with the greatest potential for scale, replication, and further investment to support a water-secure world.

Water Changemaker Awards include:

  • Presidential Changemaker Award – for demonstrated leadership and commitment
  • Innovation Changemaker Award- for the most promising climate innovations.

Every usd $1 invested returns at least usd $7

A paradigm shift in water investments is required to access new sources of innovative finance. Investment in climate-resilient water security and sanitation has an economic return of USD $7 for every USD $ 1 invested. Investing in a water secure future now will realise human security, a healthy environment, amplify gender equality, health, energy, education, food security, and many other societal gains for this generation – and those to come.

Promising climate innovations exist, but many of them fail before reaching the scale at which they can make significant impact. Water Changemaker Awards 2023 seek proposals from those innovations that have already proven their business model by operating for at least 1 year.

Matchmaking ‘supply and demand’ of climate resilient innovations

Water Changemaker Awards will bring together the supply and demand for innovative finance with a special focus on climate resilient, blended public-private finance, and gender transformative approaches. The initiative promotes the most promising climate resilient innovations to enable them to access new and innovative finance sources from institutional investors, debt, equity, and others from private and public sources, to enable them to scale up.

Enhance investment opportunity for scaling up

Selected Water Changemakers will receive technical assistance and seed funding to scale up their innovations, and strengthen their business and investment case for investors.

Contribution to the unfccc’s resilience frontiers

The Water Changemaker Awards contribute to Resilient Frontiers, an initiative of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) that ‘reimagines our world beyond its current horizons, where in harmony with nature and each other, we harness the power of frontier technologies to enrich, rather than deplete, our environment and overall wellbeing’.

Mobilise high level political commitment and global leaders

The Water Changemaker Awards 2023 will recognise global leaders demonstrating high level political commitment and leadership for climate resilient water security. In Africa, this global initiative will contribute to the Mind the Gap – Invest in Water Campaign of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa2. Comprising current and former Heads of States and global leaders, the panel is developing actionable pathways for mobilising USD $30 billion annually by 2030, to close the existing water investment gap in Africa through the implementation of the Continental Africa Water Investment Programmes, that was adopted by the African Union Heads of States in February 2021. Collaboration with other high level related water investment initiatives at Heads of States level will be pursued in South Asia, South East Asia, Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.



To identify and promote the most promising and innovative water and climate resilient solutions, specifically:

  • To identify and promote high level political and global leaders demonstrating commitment and
    leadership for scaling up climate resilient water investments.
  • To identify and scale-up innovative climate solutions.
  • To promote access to climate finance for innovators.
  • To promote collaboration among innovators, funders, and technical partners.


  • Coalition of High-level political and global leaders demonstrating commitment and leadership for transforming climate resilient water investments created.
  • Selected water and climate innovations, solutions, and access to climate finance scaled up.
  • Enhanced collaboration among innovators through matchmaking of supply and demand
  • Increased access to impact investments, offering investment opportunities, equity, strategic partnerships, and alliances with development impact and return on investments.

How it works

Recipients of the presidential changemaker awards

Recipients of the Presidential Changemaker Awards are identified by the global Water Changemakers jury and awarded at a global UN event. Recipients of the Innovation Changemaker Award are identified through a global competition. Recipients of the youth changemaker awards are identified through independently managed competitions at regional level by GWP regions, as well as WMO and Water Youth Network at global level for integrated drought and flood management.


  • Presidential Changemakers Award
  • Innovation Changemaker Award
  • Youth Water Changemaker Award


The Water Changemaker Awards will contribute to:

  • Water solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Climate resilience through water
  • Transboundary water cooperation
  • Private sector, gender equality, and
    youth empowerment.


  • 2 March 2023: Presidential Changemakers Awards at UN Water Conference, New York, USA
  • 4 July 2023: Launch of Changemakers Asia, Singapore hosted by Social Innovation Park and Singapore’s National Water Agency Public Utilities Board, PUB.
  • 6 July 2023: Global Launch of Changemakers, Hosted by K-Water, in Korea. Call for climate innovations opens.
  • September 2023: Announcement of top 30 shortlisted applicants at UN SDG Summit, UN General Assembly (UNGA) New York, USA
  • November 2023: Bootcamp for the top 30 finalists.
  • December 2023: Winners announced during COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Water Changemaker Awards 2023 is an engagement that will take place over the course of 9 months, in various locations throughout the year. It is not only the ultimate winners that receive recognition, but the participation of the applicants to showcase the innovation developed around the world.


The Water Changemakers Awards 2023 contribute to GWP’s climate resilience strategy (2020-2025) that aims to support more than 30 countries access climate finance and influence investments of more than €1 billion for climate-resilient water management and infrastructure founded on robust, inclusive, and effective water governance systems. Selected winners will be considered for the following categories:

(i) Global Leadership and commitment – Special Presidential Recognition Award at a global event

(ii) Innovation on climate finance for water security: Investment, finance, and technical assistance of at least Euros 100,000 for acceleration of innovative business models and preparation for successful scaling up and replication.

(iii) Bootcamp for the top 30 finalists for the Water Changemakers 2023 Innovation Award

CAST provides eco-friendly ozone and radical sterilization solutions that use only air and oxygen without using any chemicals for agri-food, water and environment based on low-temperature microplasma technology. This innovative technology can reduce carbon emissions because it doesn’t use chemicals to disinfect water and food. CAST solution reduces chlorine usage in the swimming pool, wastewater and drinking water treatment. The solution is using the KOICA Creative Technology Solution Program, which is an ODA program funded by the Korean government, and through this, they are making efforts to introduce innovative sterilization solutions into Cambodia and Tanzania to supply good water and to increase income for farmers and local people through the provision of safe drinking water and food.


H.E. Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi

President of Botswana Chair
Presidential Global Changemakers Award

Dr. Seog Dae Yun

Chief Executive Officer of Korea Water
Resources Corporation (K-water)

Jury: Technical Committee:


Partners involved in Water Changemakers 2023

Partners involved in Water Changemakers 2020


Entities are eligible to enter the Innovation Changemaker Award if they have been operating for at least one year and are seeking to scale up on a successful business model.


Innovative initiative should be about a business model involving water which has contributed to building resilience to climate change.


All organisations, entities, and individual as associated with the private and non-profit sector are eligible to submit their innovative changemaker initiative. Applicants need to be involved in the initiative described or have the agreement of those that are involved to submit. If you have more than one experience to share, you may – multiple submissions are welcome.


Innovations can be from anywhere in the world. Applicants are invited to join the GWP network, if they are not already a member.


Innovation must have been in operation for at least one year.


When a candidate submits their application, they must provide a contact in their country who can verify the existence of their organisation or group. The applicant will also need to provide proof of project impact, audited financial statements, team member profiles, Intellectual Property License (if available), and entity track record from previous ventures.


Staff employed by GWPO or any of the GWP Regional Secretariats, or their direct relatives (partners, children, parents) are not eligible to take part in theWater Changemaker Awards, nor are members of GWP’s Global Steering Committee or Global Technical Committee.


Submissions are accepted in English, French, and Spanish. We do work, however, in English and we will therefore use publicly available online translation tools to convert non- English submissions into English

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