W12 Congress is not another talk shop or trade show but a dynamic partnership that is action oriented and results driven, culminating in the world’s first W12 Framework

The W12 Congress will begin by assessing the issue of water crises through six expert task teams focusing on politics, economics, technical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and civil society. These task teams aim to aggregate knowledge within and across thematic areas, sharing best practices from different geographies, ultimately developing the Major Cities Best Practice Water Framework: the “W12 Framework”.

Knowledge will be gained and solutions will be achieved through collaborations, networking, Q & A sessions and other participatory approaches.

Themes Covered

  • Current situation of global climate change – Keynote Speech Focus
  • Impacts of climate change in Cape Town
  • Mitigation and adaptation
  • Renewable Energy
  • The importance of water both in business and daily life beyond the obvious
  • Water is vital to business: poor water quality or insufficient supply can curtail or even shut down activities in business operations and the supply chain.
  • Youth Engagement
  • Green Economy
  • What can civil society do? – create official specialist knowledge library – open source
  • Equity, justice, and access (rights based approach)

Media Coverage

International & National Press will be present to cover the event.

Due to the high interest and caliber of our international speakers and audience, we anticipate substantial media coverage of this event, which creates a perfect opportunity for the City of Cape Town to share their story and takes the global leadership in citizen-driven results on the water.

A film crew from our partner UNESCO will film the event, which will be incorporated into their Netflix Documentary ‘Water Wise: How Not to Drain a Country’ and will prove an invaluable tool for partners marketing and credibility.

The Program


This event is currently on hold due to the CONVID-19 situation. We will post the new dates soon.


The W12 Congress serves as a communication channel and networking platform among diverse stakeholders ― heads of official city delegations, agencies, corporations, international NGOs, and leaders from civil society ― for their future plans on water policies and projects.

Under the overarching theme “Water Partnership for Sustainable Development,” the W12 Congress provides a unique opportunity for these different stakeholders to focus specifically on addressing the urgent needs of cities in a water-stressed world. The full range of resources will be on display in the presentations: best practices in regional water management, new technologies and products, non-profit organizations and consultants, and case studies in successful public-private partnerships.


Day One, CTICC

Hall 6


Hall 6

The Opening Address
by Minister of DWS.

Minister of DWS

10:00 - 11:00Water Data: What are we facing and what does it mean?

Hall 6

The W12 Congress opens with three global experts providing the baseline for the water and climate change realities that major cities are facing around the world. The session updates on cutting-edge science results globally and what they mean for citizens, industry, and government. Panelists then focus on the “so what”—what does this mean for the leaders of cities facing rising water insecurity? 

Dr. Pablo Garcia

International NGO

Intergovernmental organization

11:00 - 11:15 Coffee break

Hall 6

Refreshments to be served.

11:15 - 12:15 The Deeper Dimensions of Water: Water as Commodity, Resource, and Right

Hall 6

Water ― a commodity that we trade, a basic human need, and a sacred substance for every world religion. This panel explores the complexity of humanity’s relationship to water: a vital component of food systems, a pivotal aspect of public health, a right, a life necessity, a sacred resource. Speakers lead the audience through every dimension of the value of water, including the social, economic, environmental, political, and religious.

Carlos Cosin
Almar Water Solutions and President of IDA

Leana Hosea
BBC, Filmmaker

Technical Science (Resource perspective)

12:15 - 13:00 Lunch break

Hall 6

Refreshments to be served.

13:00 - 14:00 Keeping the Taps On: Takeaways from Crises Averted

Hall 6

Dramatic case studies of cities that have faced water crisis, including insider perspectives and takeaway insights. What do leaders need to guide a city through a water emergency? The lessons learned come from city, private sector, citizen, and nonprofit leaders. Focus areas include social entrepreneurship, communication, stakeholder engagement, and community empowerment. 

Tim Harris
CEO Wesgro

Alex McNamera
Programme Manager: Climate & Water, National Business Initiative

Dr. Beth Chitekwe-Biti
Deputy Director, Slum/Shack Dwellers International

14:00 - 15:00 Profit and Progress: Investing in Our Future

Hall 6

What role can and should the private sector play in water management? When and how are the strengths of business being used to achieve the greatest public benefits? What makes transformative public-private partnerships work? Topics include everything from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to market-based solutions.

Old Mutual

DWS Cape Town


15:00 - 15:15 Partner Slot

Hall 6

Refreshments to be served.

15:15 - 15:30 Coffee break

Hall 6

Refreshments to be served.

15:30 - 16:30 Preventing Leaks: Monitoring, evaluation, and quantifying the impact of water projects

Hall 6

From multilateral development bank funded projects to municipal management of public toilets, monitoring and evaluating the impact and effectiveness of water projects is challenging. This panel explores how to quantify impact, loss, and effectiveness at different levels. How do we work with civil society to manage investments and build collective ownership? What are the best practices for monitoring impact and/or loss of water projects? What roles should the private sector, public sector, and civil society play?

Multilateral Development Bank Evaluation Group

Siyabonga Myeza
Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG)

DWS Cape Town

16:30 - 17:15 Case Studies: Challenges, Innovations, Breakthroughs

Hall 6

Using case studies to provide engaging narrative examples of key challenges, innovations and breakthroughs in water and climate change, this session allows audience members to move around the room and hear from different presenters. Case studies include science, technology, finance, and social services; they focus on civil society as well as the relationships between business, industry and cities. Session includes a hands-on visioning exercise to help identify new visions for the future of water and cities.

Jørgen Larsen
Danish Counselor for Water, Danish Embassy

Simon Pitts
Technical Account Manager, DuPont

Shannon Royden-Turner
Director, Actuality Urban

Department of Water Cape Town

Hall 5

10:15 - 17:00 Global Water Experts and Cities: Private Sessions

Hall 8C

Upon completion of their public presentation, city officials will meet in closed-door sessions with consultant teams on issues related to their particular city, offering networking and discussion opportunities. A designated liaison will assist with the movement of mayors and mayoral delegations from one room to another, also ensuring that food, beverage, and comfort needs are met during and between the meetings.

Closed Session
By Invitation Only.

10:15 - 17:00 City Ted-style Presentation

Halls 5

City leaders will present short, engaging presentations focusing on lessons learned, experiences, and key challenges in their cities within the context of urban water needs and successes.

City Delegations

10:15 - 17:00 Peer-to-Peer City Session

Daisy / Fresia

Moderated Panel for City Delegations

City Delegations

Day Two, CTICC


W12 is a congress for cities facing water shortages ― from the first major cities where the taps have run dry, to others who are facing escalating water crises and the possibility of turning the taps off. Among the cities officially represented, we expect to see Moscow, Sao Paolo, Santiago, Lisbon, Pu’er (China), Seoul, Los Angeles, Miami, Mexico City, Barcelona, and Cape Town, as well as other South African cities. Another 18 cities are considering participation. 

Today’s sessions focus on the question: What strategies have been most successful? Leaders from cities, industry, and civil society will join Former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, UNESCO’s Director, Water Leads from major cities, experts, CEOs and academics to share challenges and best practices and brainstorm effective solutions for water and climate resilience. For several months experts have been drafting the first “Major City Best Practice Water Framework,” which aims to facilitate progress on sustainable water access worldwide. The substance of this “W12 Framework” will be shared in and derived from today’s presentations.

Cape Town city leadership will open the day with a keynote detailing how Cape Town avoided shutting off the water taps off during its recent water crisis. Key themes include maximising the effects of PPPs (Private-Public Partnerships), developing new types of collaboration, and maximizing the role of citizen involvement in ways not previously seen in other cities.

Hall 7


Hall 7

The Opening Address
by Executive Mayor Dan Plato


Executive Mayor Cape Town
(SA Government).

9:45 - 10:00 Presenting Partner Welcome

Hall 7

Presenting Partner Welcome.

Mr. Mads Nipper
CEO Grundfos

10:00 - 10:30 Opening Keynote

Hall 7

Opening Keynote

Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Former Governor of CA, USA

10:30 - 11:30 Looking Ahead: Waves of Change

Hall 7

This VIP panel builds on the key themes from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s keynote address, offering a substantive exploration of new ways that cities are organizing to respond to the reality of escalating water challenges. With its focus on youth, social enterprises, and civil society driven governance, this panel sets the tone for the remainder of Thursday’s program.

Moderated by Mr. Pancho Campo.


Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Mr. Mads Nipper
CEO Grundfos

Carlos Cosin
Almar Water Solutions and President of IDA

Mr. Rashad Shawa
Chairman International Water Bank



Karin Krchnak
Program Manager of the 2030 Water Resources Group, World Bank Group

11:30 - 11:45 Coffee break

Hall 7

Refreshments to be served.

11:45 - 12:00 Partner slot: Alex Lane, Commercial Director, DuPont Water Solutions

Hall 7

Alex Lane, Commercial Director, DuPont Water Solutions

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch break

Hall 7

Refreshments to be served.

13:30 - 14:30 Moving Off the Sidelines: Your Turn to Make the Water Flow

Hall 7

Everything you need to know about the collaborative role of private-public partnerships for water at the city level: what’s working, what isn’t, and what’s next. Panel experts include multilateral development agencies, international banks, and leading cities. Hot topics include scope of projects, costs, co-benefits, stakeholders, timelines, lessons learned, and emerging co-investment mechanisms.


Mr. Rashad Shawa
Chairman International Water Bank

Karin Krchnak
Program Manager of the 2030 Water Resources Group, World Bank Group

14:45 - 15:45 Beyond Talk: Plans, Practices, Policies

Hall 7

The presentations in this session focus on emerging best water practices and focal areas for potential future investment. We’ll look at the newest approaches to water solutions at the city level from around the world, with a particular emphasis on innovations. Topics include barriers to uptake of innovations, how to overcome difficulties in government procurement processes, and working with businesses to obtain new technologies.

Adrian Sym
CEO, Alliance for Water Stewardship

Alex Lane
Commercial Director, Dupont

Joseph Vesey
Senior Vice President and CMO, Xylem US

Sam Katiela
Board member Int’l Water Bank and Managing and Creative Director, Mamemo

15:45 - 16:00 Coffee break

Hall 7

Refreshments to be served.

16:00 - 16:30 Congress Closing

Hall 7

Closing ceremony.

Hall 6

10:30 - 11:30 Funding Water: Making Money Flow for a Priceless Resource

Hall 6

Here we offer guidance to the different financial mechanisms for water delivery and water infrastructure projects from both the private and public side, particularly through public-private partnerships (PPPs). From subsidies to loans – what works, what doesn’t, and how can we do better?

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
Development Bank Finance Water Expert and Former Tanzanian President


11:30 - 12:30 Climate Change: How to Waterproof Your Investment

Hall 6

An expert panel on risk management: evaluation mechanisms for the risk of water investments, and the most significant means for mitigating these risks. The spotlight is on new approaches that better account for risks, responses, and opportunities.

Mr. Tobias Elling Rehfeld
Danish Ambassador to South Africa

Mr. Nick Tandi
Africa Regional Coordinator, 
World Bank Group

Risk Expert

12:30 - 13:30 Water of the Future: Breakthroughs and Solutions

Hall 6

New technology and cutting-edge science – what’s on the horizon? This breakout session panel focuses on emerging solutions, insider predictions of future trends, and anticipated breakthroughs.  

Industry innovations 


13:30 - 14:30 Understanding What Blocks the Flow: Cultures, Markets, Politics

Hall 6

Cultural differences are massive; no two cities are the same. W12 brings together many different cultures with distinctly unique approaches to water use and management. In this panel we analyse the differences and offer guidelines for navigating them – a key skill for effective international research and PPP projects

Alexandro Makarigakis
UNESCO Chief of the Cross Cutting Thematic Unit for Disaster Risk Reduction

DWS Cape Town

14:30 - 15:30 TBC

Hall 6


15:30-16:15 What’s on the Horizon? The Future of Water Industry Careers

Hall 6

What careers exist in the water industry? Is it really a viable career choice? What do future career opportunities look like? How do we expect the water industry to transform over the coming decade? The session surveys major employment opportunities: government positions, researchers, industry experts, development practitioners, and more. The session ends with a networking time between employers and potential employees.

David Jalajel
Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize For Water



DWS – The department of Water and Sanitation

For more information please contact: partners@w12-congress.com

Exhibitor Opportunities Available

Should you wish to showcase your brand / products at the W12 Congress Exhibition please email us for availability and pricing. We also have a design team on hand to assist you with your exhibition space design.

Exhibitor Forms

Below are a list of forms for exhibitors to download and fill out.

Exhibitor Book form (PDF)
Exhibitor Prospectus (PDF)
Exhibition Floor plan (PDF)  
Final Service form (PDF)

CTICC Exhibitor Service Forms

Below are a list of forms for exhibitors to download and fill out.

Beverage Order Form
Catering Order Form
Electrical Service Order Form
IT Services Order Form1
Plumbing Service Order Form
Stand Cleaning Service Order Form
Telecommunications Service Order Form

Exhibition Floor Plan

Two prominent venues in Cape Town have been selected for hosting the inaugural W12 Congress, the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Cape Town City Hall.

Cape Town International Convention Centre

The CTICC is the Home of Extraordinary Experiences.

A multi-purpose conference and exhibition centre in the hub of Cape Town’s business and entertainment centre, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) combines the impassioned dedication of its capable personnel with an extensive range of premium venues, services and facilities. We create captivating experiences that sees hosts and their guests returning year after year.

This innovative venue offers a comprehensive array of services for international and locally based clients, playing host to prominent global conferences, trade shows, concerts and celebrated stage productions.

Cape Town City Hall

Cape Town City Hall is a large Edwardian building in Cape Town city centre which was built in 1905. It is located on the Grand Parade to the west of the Castle and is built from honey-coloured oolitic limestone imported from Bath in England.

The City Hall has become a central venue for creative and cultural events such as art exhibitions and concerts.

The City Hall will be the venue for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Address to the Youth” private event.

W12 Congress is THE premier meeting place for full utility value chain. We’re looking forward to welcoming over 3,000 senior level executives, 30 renowned speakers, 40 exhibitors and 17 international cities.


We have the entire water value chain covered. If you’re looking to learn, source new technologies and suppliers, engage with the defacto leaders from around the world you’re sure to find them at W12 Congress.

Media Partners

W12 Congress partners with worldwide media publications not only industry wide but covering the entire spectrum.

Press and Analysts

Throughout the year, we gain national and international coverage in the world’s leading publications for our partners and projects.

International Delegations

From Members of Parliament to Governmental Ministers worldwide, W12 Congress attracts top level delegations.


We gather over 30 renowned speakers, which includes celebrities, industry experts who deliver a world-class knowledge for you to help you advance your business.

Generate leads and qualified business enquiries, showcase your innovative solutions and build partnerships. Take advantage of numerous networking opportunities.