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.
The AWS Standard
The Alliance for Water Stewardship International Water Stewardship Standard (AWS Standard) is a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context.
Developed through a four-year global multi-stakeholder process, the AWS Standard supports implementing sites in understanding the local context and its shared water challenges, and to begin transparent and constructive engagement with other stakeholders. This globally-consistent approach helps sites develop contextually-appropriate actions in pursuit of four outcomes:
- Good water governance
- Sustainable water balance
- Good water quality
- Healthy status of important water-related areas (ecosystems and cultural sites)
Implementing the AWS Standard helps sites to:
- Understand their water use in the context of a catchment
- Build internal capacity through a step-wise learning framework
- Manage water risks at a site level and through supply chains
- Engage effectively and build trust with local stakeholders
- Demonstrate real leadership in addressing water challenges
Driving continuous improvement
The AWS Standard drives continual improvement through three performance levels: core, gold and platinum. The AWS system includes third-party certification and a network of accredited professional service providers who support and assess the implementation of the Standard.
Building trust for collaboration
The integrity of the multi-stakeholder processes through which it was developed enables the Standard to act as a neutral framework that drives transparency, builds trust and enhances understanding of shared water challenges. In doing so the AWS Standard provides a “safe place” that is critical to enabling genuine and lasting collaboration.