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.

Benefits of implementing the AWS Standard

Implementing the AWS Standard can bring about many benefits for a site. It supports them 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. In addition, the Standard can also be used by others interested in mitigating water risks including corporates, investors and public sector agencies as a framework to evaluate and plan water stewardship practices.

The Standard is supported by an Assurance System, which also supports claims and use of the AWS logo. The Standard was developed in compliance with the codes of best practice of the ISEAL Alliance, the global umbrella organization for credible standard systems. The AWS Standard is managed by the members of the Alliance for Water Stewardship and informed by a Technical Committee.

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.

AWS Standard Revision and Certification in 2019

Please note, the AWS Standard is currently undergoing a formal public revision process as part of the five-year cycle seen as best practice by the ISEAL Code of Standard Setting, to ensure its continued relevance, accessibility and applicability to help sites improve water stewardship. Details can be found here on the process and how you can contribute.