The AWS Standard

The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard

AWS 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. The Standard is intended to drive social, environmental and economic benefits at the scale of a catchment.

It achieves this by engaging water-using sites in understanding and addressing shared catchment water challenges as well as site water risks and opportunities. It asks water-using sites to address these challenges in a way that progressively moves them to best practice in terms of four values:

  1. Sustainable water balance
  2. Good water quality
  3. Healthy important water-related areas (sites and values)
  4. Good water governance

In pursuit of these outcomes, implementation of the Standard encourages collaborative approaches that involve business and industry, government and community as well as civil society organisations.

The Standard provides water stewards with a six-step continual improvement framework that enables sites to commit to, understand, plan, implement, evaluate and communicate water stewardship actions.


Implementing the AWS Standard helps sites to:

  • mitigate their water risks
  • address their shared water challenges in the catchment
  • ensure that responsible water stewardship actions are in place to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts for everyone.

The Standard can be implemented by any site, in any sector, in any catchment around the world. The Standard is supported by an Assurance System, which also supports claims and AWS logo use.

In addition, the Standard can also be used by others interested in mitigating risks for corporates, investors and public sector agencies as a framework to evaluate water stewardship practices.

The Standard was developed in compliance with the codes of best practice of the ISEAL Alliance, the global umbrella organization for credible standard systems. ISEAL-compliant

For more inför aktion please see the Standard Setting Report.

The AWS Standard is managed by the members of the Alliance for Water Stewardship and informed by a Technical Committee.

To find out more on how the AWS Standard was developed, please read about the Water Roundtable.

To provide comments on this version of the standard, please contact us.

Download the AWS Standard

The official language of the AWS Standard is English. Translations may be available but the English version should be used when in doubt.

The Standard is available in English, Spanish and (coming soon) Chinese. An abbreviated version (without guidance material) is available in Russian.

Please fill out the form below to download the AWS Standard: