EWS Launch “A vision becomes reality”
The European Water Stewardship (EWS) Launch, a flagship event for sustainable water users in agriculture and industry, was held on the 24th of November 2011, at the Royal Academy of Belgium in Brussels.
On the 24th of November, the European Water Partnership launched with the European Water Stewardship (EWS) a new, tried-and-tested system to support water users’ efforts towards sustainable water management. The ceremony, held at the Royal Academy of Belgium in Brussels, was headed by the European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik, and involved strategic heads of leading industries, agriculture and civil society.
Mr. Potočnik said he expects the EWS to contribute to the implementation of the EU water policy. In his intervention, he invited “all water users in industry and agriculture to join this pioneering process, to help ensure the availability of water resources for the future”.
The EWS is a system that will enable both industrial and agricultural users to integrate their activities within an exhaustive strategy and to evaluate their performance by defining clear steps towards sustainable water management at operational and river basin level. It embodies the collective effort and know-how of water users in both sectors and follows on from the Water Vision for Europe. After two years of pilot projects in locations as diverse as chemical production plants in Germany and farms in Cyprus, the EWS is now a practical tool, for immediate application.
“One of the things that makes the EWS innovative is that it is flexible enough to apply to new and existing water management programs run by both large and small users, while at the same time respecting strict regulatory frameworks”, said Tom Vereijken, Chairman of the European Water Partnership, which operates the EWS.
The EWS made its debut before an audience of over 160 participants including farmers, representatives of international business and European regions and municipalities, scientists, policy makers and NGOs.
“The EWS has the virtue of having a high stakeholder involvement from its conception”, said Lesha Witmer from Women for Water Partnership. “The involvement of citizens in the standard means that the economic and social aspects are taken in. The EWS is a very important first step toward genuine participation”.
The EWS partners agree that only the complementary efforts of the private sector and an effective implementation of European legal requirements can provide long-term solutions for water management on a river basin scale.
To know more about EWS, please click here.
For more detailed information on the conference program, please click here.