Voice of Water Stewardship
Water Stewardship is…
The use of water that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site- and catchment-based actions. Good water stewards understand their own water use, catchment context and shared risk in terms of water governance, water balance, water quality and important water-related areas; and then engage in meaningful individual and collective actions that benefit people and nature.
Water Stewardship Approach
With an increase in water costs, water related conflicts, water scarcities and other extreme events around the globe, companies are coming to the realization that water risks can directly impact their operations and their credibility with investors and local communities. Investors are pushing companies to improve their reporting and understanding of the likelihood of water risks which could potentially affect business robustness.
Responding to these risks, efficiency improvements combined with partnerships with local communities, businesses and government actors to protect the water in the river basin is the one certain way to protect the interests of all water users. Water Stewardship is an emerging paradigm which allows companies to respond to these growing challenges to protect corporate and brand reputability.
Where the resources and capacities of local governments fall short of meeting demands, Water Stewardship plays a role in stimulating improvements to river basin management by guiding the appropriate actions needed to effect real change. Water Stewardship emphasizes actions at local level prioritizing the need to understand and engage in the broader catchment, since water users share risks and opportunities related to water resource management.
Part of a Global Platform
The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and European Water Stewardship (EWS) are both working to raise awareness on Water Stewardship and provide water users with response tools to build robust and credible water risk management. EWS functions as the exclusive representative of AWS, responsible for Water Stewardship in Europe, defined as the states in which the European Water Framework Directive is, or will be, implemented.
To guide business and agriculture in Europe to become water stewards, the regional Water Stewardship standard, the EWS standard, enables implementing sites to assess, verify and communicate responsible Water Stewardship practices and promote these practices within their investments and supply chains.
For more information on AWS and to take a look at the global standard see their website: http://www.allianceforwaterstewardship.org/.
- Provide incentives for companies and individuals to evolve the manner in which they use, manage and regulate water by becoming a water steward.
- Allow companies to demonstrate that they produce their products responsibly and in harmony with the natural environment.
- Provide a tool to achieve holistic sustainable water management.
- Prepare the private sector for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
- Support water users to communicate and report on their water use.
- Promote a shift from supply management to a balanced supply and demand management through information, education and training.