Beyond the administrative classification of members, members are also divided according to their status and mission. This classification does not take into account the legal incorporation status but only the relevant position of the member organisation in the water management process.
Depending on the category they belong to, the rights and obligations of the members might differ, in particular the amount of membership fees that they have to pay. The 3rd General Assembly fixed the number of colleges at five, each of which is represented on the Board of Governors by at least four member organisations. The following are the definitions of the colleges:
College 1: Intergovernmental institutions
Those international organisations composed exclusively of Member States, which monitor, regulate and finance water and water-related projects, policies and cooperation. Includes: UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations, international financial institutions, development banks, etc.
College 2: Governments and government authorities
Those national or local institutions related to the state, which monitor, regulate and finance water resources and sanitation management at the national and local level, elaborate and implement water and water-related policies at the national or local level, and develop and implement national water and water-related international cooperation strategies.
Includes: state agencies, ministries, local authorities, municipalities, basin authorities, parliamentarian associations, national development agencies, etc.
N.B: state-owned universities, research centres, state-owned companies, are not included in this college.
College 3: Enterprises and facilities
Those companies and their associated networks that are either state-owned, private, public or run as a public-private partnership which provide goods and services related to water supply and sanitation, as well as those companies working in water-related fields such as energy supply, health care, environmental conservation and food production.
Includes: water supply and sanitation companies; consulting firms; law firms; infrastructure companies in charge of hydropower plants, dams, reservoirs, irrigation canals, energy supply; service providers; construction companies; industrial companies; etc.
College 4: Civil society organisations and water user associations
Those national and international organisations and their associated networks that represent water and sanitation users, those organisations that advocate human rights and nature protection with regard to social, cultural, historical, and environmental aspects, those organisations working in humanitarian aid, as well as those organisations that provide information on water and water-related issues to the public at large. Includes: foundations, consumer associations, farmer associations, trade unions and the media.
N.B: NGOs whose main activities are training and education should not be included in college 4, but college 5.
College 5: Professional associations and academic institutions
Those national or international organisations and their associated networks that carry out research or provide education and training on the scientific, technical, legal, social cultural and economic aspect of water and water-related issues, as well as those national or international professional organisations and media which provide information on research.
Includes: national and international professional organisations, private or public universities, schools and research centres, public and private training centres.