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Global Water Stewardship Standard launched

Apr 30th, 2014 |

On April 8, the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), a partnership of global leaders in sustainable water management, released the International Water Stewardship Standard version 1.0, the first global framework to promote sustainable freshwater use. By focusing on targets in water governance, water balance, water quality and other important water-related areas, the Standard will help water-users understand the value of water, mitigate their water risks, and earn recognition for responsible water stewardship. It clearly defines criteria for good water stewardship and was designed to align with other sustainability initiatives and support independent certification with varying levels of recognition.

The Standard was developed through a four-year, multi-stakeholder, global water roundtable process that included a diversity of business, public sector and civil society interests from around the world, as well as pilot projects held in seven countries. Over the course of nine months, leading companies in pulp and paper, mining, chemicals, oil and gas, water service provision and agriculture applied the Standard to test its feasibility and applicability. These projects helped define targets in water governance, water balance, water quality and other important water-related areas.

The European Water Stewardship has supported the development of the Global Stewardship Standard from the beginning and the two standards were developed in close partnership with each other. As the result, the European Water Stewardship has been recognised as the exclusive European representative of the AWS and remains responsible for water stewardship work in Europe particularly in the in river basins where the EU Water Framework directive is or is intended to be applicable. Moreover, the AWS and EWS reconfirmed their collaboration and joined forces to improve, incentivize and recognize responsible water use, including helping members engage key stakeholders within their watershed and supply chain. To encourage understanding and engagement around water, AWS/EWS run a capacity-development program and membership opportunities for those who want to help shape the future of water stewardship. Businesses, water service providers and civil society can join it to learn what they can do to help protect shared resources, as well as shape the future of water stewardship. The future development of the AWS and its regional initiative such as EWS will enable regional members to automatically become AWS members.

As a next step in this important collaboration, the upcoming event Water Stewardship: Local Actions Driving Global Impact on 3 July 2014, will highlight the links between the AWS and EWS initiatives. Real world stories from implementers will focus on practical applications of water stewardship in their region.

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