Assessing a Sites Conformity to the Standard

Assessing Responsible Water Stewards

Water Stewards need to make credible claims about their meeting the AWS Standard.

AWS maintains an assurance system to regulate credible certification and claims.

AWS assesses and approves Conformity Assessment Bodies to audit Water Stewards against the requirements of the AWS Standard.  Conformity Assessment Bodies are then contracted by a Water Steward to make the assessment.

The AWS Assurance System is consistent with the ISEAL Assurance Code, lending consistency, rigour, competence, impartiality, transparency, and accessibility.  The AWS Assurance System Report contains more information on this.

AWS also assesses and approves independent trainers and consultants to foster understanding, capacity and uptake of the AWS Standard.

AWS Provides training and regularly updates to all service providers applying the AWS system.

Service providers build capacity of Water Stewards to achieve the Standard, through expertise, training of staff and independent assessment.

Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs)

Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) are professional and independent certification service providers.

They meet the AWS Interim Accreditation Requirements; having the systems and training to apply the AWS Certification Requirements in order to assess compliance with the AWS Standard.

CABs are independently accredited to relevant ISO requirements and have skilled auditors with knowledge of water stewardship, and experience of auditing other social and environmental standards.

CABs tend to be regional or multinational organisations, working with other ISEAL member certification schemes as well as providing ISO certification.

Assurance Procedure

Initial accreditation

Conformity Assessment Bodies should complete and submit the AWS Interim Accreditation Assessment Form.

Applicants must give a response to each requirement in the form and present a source of evidence to support that they have the right systems and resources in place.

AWS assesses the application for completeness and highlights if there is evidence missing.

AWS shall assess the application once a complete set of responses and evidence have been submitted; reviewing audit-related documentation against the AWS Accreditation and Certification Requirements; and qualification and experience of personnel included at this stage.

An Accreditation Agreement shall then be issued and signed between AWS and the CAB and the CAB shall be listed on the AWS website.



Following initial accreditation of the CAB, AWS shall:

  • witness one or more of the CAB’s audits in the field annually
  • perform a Head Office Assessment of systems to meet the AWS Accreditation and Certification Requirements

The number of annual witness audits and accreditation site visits will depend on CAB performance and number of certificates, as well as availability of AWS resources during this initial phase.

Site visits will be supplemented by:

  • in-depth monitoring of specific issues identified across all Accredited CABs
  • review audit reports prior to issuance of certificates and subsequent follow-up non-conformities

Increasing demand for AWS certification

The capacity of the current system to meet demand is under review and a new assurance model is being explored in order to service this demand.

Details of the new system will be published here as they become available.