We are a global partnership dedicated to promoting the responsible use of freshwater. We do this through an internationally-consistent water stewardship system that drives, recognizes and rewards improved water stewardship performance.

At the heart of our work is the INTERNATIONAL WATER STEWARDSHIP STANDARD (the AWS Standard) which provides a voluntary 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.

The AWS Standard was developed through a four-year, global multi-stakeholder process. Our network of regional partners allows global consistency to team up with local expertise. Our innovative approach makes water stewardship accessible to stakeholders from industry, agriculture, public sector and civil society, and puts us at the leading edge collective responses to water challenges.

Our Team


Mark Dent

South Africa Manager

Alex Fernández Poulussen

Project Management, Europe and MENA

Derk Kuiper

Project Lead, Europe and MENA

Matt Howard

Director, North America

Megan McLeod

Project and Administration Manager, Asia Pacific

Scott McCready

Director of Outreach and Engagement

Richard Robertson

Technical Director

Adrian Sym

Chief Executive

Zhenzhen Xu

Regional Director, Asia Pacific

Erika Zarate Torres

Project Management, Europe and MENA

History of The Alliance for Water Stewardship

Over the last decade it has become increasingly clear that water is one of the major challenges for society, the economy and the environment. Exacerbated by global drivers of population growth, changing consumption patterns and climate change, our freshwater resources are increasingly under stress.

Recent years has also seen increasing acknowledgement of the critical role of the private sector in addressing sustainability issues. As the major user and consumer of freshwater resources, the private sector needs to be constructively engaged in efforts to achieve water sustainability.

AWS was born out of the realization that the scale of water challenges facing the world demands an approach that is both systematic and scalable. Drawing on lessons from other sustainability standards like the Forest Stewardship Council, the focus from the beginning has promoting  water stewardship through a globally-consistent set of principles and criteria.

Key milestones on the AWS journey to-date have been:


Formation of the AWS by initial members.


Expansion of AWS Board, incorporation of AWS Inc., secondment of AWS staff.


Launch of Global Water Roundtable (the multi-stakeholder process to develop the AWS Standard) and pilot testing of draft regional Standards in Africa.


Formation of the International Standard Development committee and negotiation on the first draft of the AWS Standard. Initial development of model for multi-stakeholder governance.

First Executive Director hired.


Publication of first draft AWS Standard and public consultations on this draft. Consultations on multi-stakeholder governance.


Publication of the Beta AWS Standard. Pilot tests and consultations on Beta AWS Standard.

Further consultation on model for AWS governance and service delivery.


Launch of AWS Standard v1.0. Launch of AWS membership and capacity development programs.


Publication of first accreditation and certification requirements. Re-incorporation in Scotland as a non-profit and launch of AWS membership.


First AWS Global Water Stewardship Forum