Renmark Paringa Council is the first local government in the world to be recognised for its leadership in sustainable water management through International Water Stewardship Standard (AWS Standard) certification.
This project, which was supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, sees Renmark Paringa Council join a prestigious list of organisations that meet the global benchmark for sustainable water management, including multi-national technology company Apple, poultry producer Ingham’s, and the neighbouring Renmark Irrigation Trust.
Sustainability is one of four key outcomes identified in the Renmark Paringa Council 2021-2024 Corporate Plan.
“AWS certification and the development of a Water Stewardship Plan has provided us with the perfect way to achieve our goal of gaining recognition for our stewardship of water resources in a transparent, rigorous and stakeholder-inclusive way.”Neil Martinson, Renmark Paringa Mayor
Over the course of many years, Renmark Paringa Council has been committed to the use of treated wastewater for municipal irrigation, reducing the volume of catchment water used, water-use efficiency and supporting the rehabilitation of local floodplains and wetlands.
These efforts, which are significant in an ecosystem which is threatened by reduced Murray-Darling flows, have been rewarded with gold-level AWS certification.
“As a community we have always been very active in the water stewardship space without being formally recognised for it,” said Mayor Martinson. “The certification provides an opportunity to be recognised for what we currently do, build on that and understand what else we can do. It ripples throughout the community.”
Mayor Martinson said that “the certification process recognises the council’s leading role in advancing water stewardship, not just in its own operations, but more broadly amongst water users in the community.”
“We encourage water users in the community and in the catchment to participate in water stewardship. This includes major water users in agriculture and industry, as well as domestic water users,” he said.
With two organisations within the same community successfully attaining AWS certification, Renmark sets an example for responsible water practices in local government and agricultural communities.
“Renmark Paringa Council and Renmark Irrigation Trust are pioneering sustainable water management in the Murray-Darling Basin. The leadership and commitment shown by Renmark Paringa Council serves as a model to other communities on the power of collective action to address shared water challenges and achieve social, environmental and economic benefits,” said Rod Knight, AWS Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Officer.