The Water
Awards  2023

Climate innovative finance and technology for a water-secure world

#WaterChangeMakers In support of the UNFCCC's Resilience Frontiers Initiative
Submissions open in June 2023
Submit before the 31 of July 2023
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Water Changemakers 2023

Scaling up innovative climate finance and technologies for a water-secure world

Water Changemakers 2023 is a global challenge 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. Changemaker Awards includes: (a) Presidential Global Changemaker Award - for demonstrated leadership and commitment (b) Innovation challenge 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 Changemakers 2023 seeks 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 Changemakers 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. Changemakers 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 to provide funding for replication and scale-up.

Contribution to the UNFCCC's Resilience Frontiers

The Water Changemakers contributes 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 well-being'.

Mobilize high-level political commitment and global leaders


The 2023 Changemakers will recognise global
leaders demonstrating high level political commitment and leadership for climate resilient water security. In Africa, Changemakers 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.

Components of the Water Changemakers


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

  1. To identify and promote high level political and global leaders demonstrating commitment and leadership for scaling up climate resilient water investments.
  2. To identify and scale-up innovative climate solutions.
  3. To promote access to climate finance for innovators.
  4. 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.

Why you should participate

"The value of an idea lies in the using of it"
Thomas Edison 


Innovative climate and water solutions will be supported to scale up.


Opportunity to enhance collaboration among innovators through matchmaking of supply and demand

Investment opportunities

Access to impact investments, offering investment opportunities, equity, strategic partnerships, and alliances with development impact and return on investments. 

How it works


How to submit?

Recipients  of the Presidential Global Changemaker Awards are identified by the Changemakers jury and awarded at a global UN event. The recipients  of the innovation challenge award are identified through a global competitive challenge and should submit their innovation between 1 June - 31 July 2023. 

Who can submit for the innovation challenge award?


Entities are eligible to enter the Innovation Water Changemakers Challenge if they have been operating for at least 1 year and are seeking to scale up on a successful business model. 

  • What:  Innovation Changemaker should be about business models involving water that have contributed to building resilience to climate change.
  • Who:  All organizations, entities, and individuals associated with the private and non-profit sector are eligible to submit their Changemaker initiative. Submitters need to be involved in the initiative described or have the agreement of those who are involved to submit. If you have more than one experience to share, you may - multiple submissions are welcome.
  • Where: Innovation can be from anywhere in the world. Applicants are invited to join the GWP network, if they are not already a member.
  • When: Innovation must have been in operation for at least one year. 
  • Verification:  When a candidate submits their application, they must provide a contact in their country who can verify the existence of their organization or group. The entrant 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. 
  • Exclusion:  Staff employed by GWPO or any of the GWP Regional Secretariats, or their direct relatives (partners, children, parents) are not eligible to submit a Water Changemakers experience, nor are members of GWP's Global Steering Committee or Global Technical Committee.

Please note:

  • Many Languages ​​work: 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.
  • Get ahead of the final date: We recommend that submissions be uploaded ahead of the final date given that our system may experience instability when overloaded.
  • Quantify where you can:   Submitters are encouraged to quantify results and include data that demonstrates positive impacts in their submissions.
  • Verification: Submissions will undergo a verification process using the contact person provided.


There are many important dates for you to remember, but the most important ones are that submissions open on 1 June 2023 and close on 30 June 2023. You can see all the other important dates on the timeline below.



Launch competition at UN Water Conference, New York



Open for submission

Submit your innovation challenge via the submission form!


Close for submission

Do not miss the deadline!


World Water Week

Announcement of top 30 finalists at World Water Week in Stockholm!


Top 15 finalists

Announcement of the top 15 finalists at the UN General Assembly: SDG Summit.


Winners & Awards

Winners will be announced during COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.



The Jury process

The Water ChangeMaker Awards will involve a 2-stage jury process, deploying an international independent expert jury as well as leaders in water management and climate resilience. Teams making it to the “Finals” will be asked to share more in-depth information about their change journey.

The Evaluation Criteria

Climate Resilience built through Water Innovation

The extent to which the initiative has contributed to climate resilience – seen through one or more of the thematic areas below:

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

Entity operation

The entity must have been operating for at least one year. 

Viable business model

An innovative solution that has been tested, piloted and proven to be effective and feasible. 

Country Water Partnership

Entity is a partner of Global Water Partnership 


The Awards

Once you meet the eligibility criteria you will benefit from opportunities to Connect, Collaborate, and Celebrate. Winning initiatives will receive financial and technical support to scale up their business models.

Connect: Water ChangeMaker Community

You will become part of a vibrant community of Water ChangeMakers.  Depending on how far you get, we will list you and your initiative on the website, connect you with others who tackle similar challenges (Semi-Finalists), and invite you to join the Alumni Group (Finalists) or the “Hall of Fame” (Winners).

Collaborate: On the Global Stage

You will be a creator of insights that drive better water decisions.  We will invite Semi-Finalists to collaborate on distilling lessons from their experiences.  Finalists’ experiences will be featured on the Global Water Partnership’s online  ToolBox – able to explore collaboration with other water champions from across the globe. Finalists will be invited to collaborate in shaping subsequent Water ChangeMaker Awards.

Celebrate: High-Level Award Ceremony

You will be an ambassador for your initiative. Each Finalist will be invited to the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We will sponsor your trip where you will participate in the Awards Ceremony and where your work will be featured in media channels. You will participate in events to celebrate and share your award-winning experience.


Beyond the Awards – Water ChangeMaker Stories

Celebrating our Finalists and Winners is the first step to join the Water ChangeMakers community . The experience is a journey of technical and financial support, communication and  collaboration  with like-minded people. During this journey we will help you to scale up you business model. Water Changemakers will bring together the supply and demand for innovative finance with a special focus on climate resilient. The Global Water Partnership's online ToolBox will be the space where future collaboration will take place – with space for learning from each other, for seeking advice and coaching from around the world, and for motivating and inspiring each other.

In collaboration with partners involved in Water Changemakers 2020