Celebrating excellence in water research

Hosted by the National Water Research Institute

Charles N. Haas of Drexel University received the 2017 Clarke Prize Award. Click here for more information.

Welcome to Our Conference Website

This year's Clarke Prize recipient is Dr. Charles N. Haas, who was selected for his leadership in pioneering and applying methods to assess and minimize health risks caused by exposure to disease-causing microorganisms (referred to as pathogens) in water and wastewater.  He is the LD Betz Professor of Environmental Engineering and Head of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Our 1-day annual conference is unique in the water industry. We invite leading experts from various fields, such as microbiology, environmental engineering, and water resource economics to talk about the most innovative research and technology advancements in urban water sustainability. These talks are complemented with practical case studies of current projects in the water industry.

The highlight of the event is the presentation of the Clarke Prize for outstanding achievement in water science. Consisting of a medallion and $50,000 award, the Clarke Prize is a prestigious award in the global water community.

The Award Ceremony and Dinner was held on the evening of October 19, 2017, at the newly remodeled Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California.

The conference was held on October 20, 2017, also at the Irvine Marriott Hotel.


  • Charles Haas

    Environmental engineer and microbiologist Charles Haas, Ph.D., was the twenty-fourth recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for Excellence in Water Research.

  • Irvine Marriott Hotel

    The 2017 Clarke Prize Conference and Award Ceremony was held at the Irvine Marriott Hotel

  • Videos of presentations from the Clarke Prize Conference and Award Ceremony are available on our YouTube channel.

  • The Clarke Prize is named after Mrs. Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, an Orange County philanthropist who was active in politics and co-founded NWRI. Her image is on the Clarke Medallion.

  • The Clarke Prize Medallion

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Keep up with the latest Clarke Prize conference and award ceremony news! Join our mailing list to receive timely announcements and updates by email.

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Become a conference sponsor

Gold sponsors are invited to attend a private reception with the Clarke Laureates and receive a reserved table for eight at the award ceremony and dinner.

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Register students for free

Professors, if you register for the Clarke Prize Conference, you will receive three (3) free conference registrations for students.

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Become a conference volunteer

Students, are you interested in volunteering in exchange for attending the conference for free? We are seeking student volunteers to help us during the conference.

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Clarke Prize Supporters

Members of the Irvine Family at the 2012 Clarke
Prize Award Ceremony.

The Clarke Prize would not be possible without the vision and support of a very special group of people: the Irvine Family of Orange County, California. Through the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, the Irvine Family helped establish NWRI in 1991 and the Clarke Prize in 1994.

The Clarke Prize was named after Mrs. Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, a highly respected philanthropist who passed away in 1993. Fondly known as the "First Lady" of Orange County, California, Mrs. Clarke served on the White House preservation committee and participated in many other political activities. She and her daughter, Mrs. Joan Irvine Smith, ran the Irvine Ranch, one of California's most productive crop farms, and served on the board of trustees of the Irvine Company, a privately held real estate investment company with properties all throughout coastal California. Because of her ties to the land, Mrs. Clarke recognized the vital importance of water and strongly promoted better water science and technology.

As supporters of the Clarke Prize, the Foundation not only sponsors the award, but members of the Irvine family are actively involved with the award ceremony and dinner. The family has attended every Clarke Prize since 1994, presenting each winner with the Clarke Medallion and $50,000 check.

We are grateful to the Irvine Family and Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation for their outstanding support. Thank you for making the Clarke Prize one of the most esteemed water prizes in the world.

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