Committed to the Water Vision for Europe by initiating, supporting and enhancing initiatives and projects, giving water a common voice in Europe.
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Our Journey

EWS is the result of a wide stakeholder process, coordinated by the European Water Partnership (EWP), with the collective effort and know-how of water users from agriculture and industry. Based on the challenges identified during the implementation of legal requirements (WFD) and general acknowledgement that water accountancy methods may not provide sufficient guidance on how to reduce impacts, EWP understood the need for a concrete tool providing water users with how to implement Water Stewardship within a local context.


The following phases highlight the development of the EWS standard, the core document of the EWS system:

Working groups:

From November 2008 to February 2010, external experts and partners from business, agriculture, civil society and European authorities gathered to identify the most critical criteria and indicators to assess sustainable water management. These indicators form the European Water Stewardship standard.

Pilot Testing:

On site assessment with the draft standard followed in 2010-2011 to assure the standards applicability at production sites and at farms. Piloting also allowed EWS to develop sector specific guidance for the implementation process. Results from the pilot studies can be found here.

Public Consultation:

According to the requirements of the Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards (ISEAL Alliance), EWP submitted the EWS standard to two rounds of 60-days public consultation providing all stakeholders the opportunity to reflect on format and content of the EWS Standard and the referring glossary document.

Public Launch:

The standard was launched in the EU Commission November 11th, 2011, EWS moved into a new phase focusing on certification, beginning with pre-screening of interested partners and training Certification Bodies and consultancies on how to implement the standard.


First Certification:

EWS was proud to announce its first certification at the beginning of 2013, leading the way for building a critical mass of certifications in the coming year.

First Water Stewardship Event:

On 3 July 2014, EWS held its first Water Stewardship event in the Finnish Representation to the EU . The event highlighted achievements of real water stewards in Europe, from BASF, Chaudfontaine, Stora Enso and ECPA. Representatives from European Institutions, civil society, water service provider and the investor community highlighted the role of water stewardship in the sustainable management of global water resource. To view the photo library and full press release from the days’ events see here.

Implementation throughout Europe:

For a complete list of where EWS has been implemented, please see Our Activities.

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