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Monitoring and Evaluating Impacts

Scope of the Monitoring & Evaluation System

AWS’s M&E program is designed to:

  • Assess the impact of implementing the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard
    Understand how the AWS Standard, regional guidance and programmatic offerings could improve
  • Enable a learning environment where gathered M&E data on water stewardship can contribute to the effective dissemination of knowledge amongst interested parties, in particular AWS members
  • Propel water stewardship’s effectiveness in driving change

Theory of Change

The AWS M&E program is organized around the AWS theory of change. The theory of change hypothesizes that successful water stewardship will only be achieved through actions at both the site and catchment levels. The AWS Standard will certify at the site level only, but also requires actions at the catchment level.

The theory of change also outlines how water stewards are affected by and can affect the larger socio-economic context in which they operate.

AWS’s supporting strategies will enable a step-wise approach to engaging in water stewardship, aid collective action at the catchment level, promote uptake of the Standard at the site level, and encourage connections to areas outside the traditional water space.

AWS must monitor and evaluate progress on this at three levels:

The Site

The Site level monitors water stewardship actions from the perspective of a site and evaluates what effect implementation of the Standard has had on site’s resiliency to water risk and opportunities to create shared benefits with others in the catchment.

The Catchment

The Catchment level monitors how collective water stewardship actions (or a lack thereof) translate into improved catchment health and evaluates where additional strategies should be leveraged to increase positive impact.

The AWS System

The System level monitors how effective AWS strategies are in specific contexts and evaluates how and where they can be improved.

AWS aims to monitor all sites in the first years, with in-depth (long term focused) monitoring in at least one sub-catchment.

This catchment will need to have  available data, a willing catchment authority, and multiple sites engaged in water stewardship.

Roles and Responsibilities

The M&E program is coordinated at an international secretariat level.

The Technical Manager will implement the M&E plan and will be responsible for initial knowledge management.

Ideally, M&E staff will expand to 3-5 in 5 years to facilitate long term impact evaluations in multiple catchments.

Defining the Intended Change

To maximize water stewardship benefits for stakeholders, additional supporting strategies or programs are necessary to create an enabling environment.

This outline helps show the role that successful water stewardship actions can plan in providing benefits and opportunities so that larger social, economic and political environment.

Performance Monitoring

Indicators to measure impact have been developed and are being further developed by the Technical Committee, prior to stakeholder consultation on the larger M&E program.

The indicators are divided into three levels:

  • AWS Standard-Site level
  • AWS Standard-Catchment level
  • AWS System level

Outcome and impact evaluation

The desired outcomes of water stewardship are four-fold:

  • good water governance
  • sustainable water balance
  • good water quality status
  • healthy important water-related areas

These four outcomes deliver benefits for the environment and ultimately, deliver on social and economic impacts.

These four outcomes are most sustainable when achieved collectively.

Sites are expected to contribute to these outcomes via on-site management, engagement with others and collective action, but are not responsible for achieving them through individual efforts.

Nevertheless, these outcomes underpin the Standard and sites’ actions when implementing it.

Outcomes are not intended to be audited within the AWS Standard per se; rather, they are broad, fundamental tenets of water stewardship. The criteria in the Standard are designed to help sites to strive for these outcomes and are verifiable through the indicators.

Impact evaluation is still in development.

Improving the Effectiveness of the M&E system
The M&E Program will expand on the information included here as well as include information on:

  • plans and systems for outcome and impact evaluations
  • how evaluations will be used for internal discussion, learning and capacity building
  • plans and systems for transparency and stakeholder involvement
  • indicators and data sources

Opportunities for engagement

Please contact the AWS Technical Director to submit comments, questions or complaints about the M&E System.