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 five outcomes:
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 organizations.
AWS Standard Revision to Version 2.0
Version 2.0 of the AWS Standard was launched on 22nd March 2019 following a two-year review and revision process undertaken by AWS involving multiple public consultations on the AWS Standard Version 1.0. This is in line with best practice set out by the ISEAL Code of Standard Setting and helps to ensure that the Standard remains relevant, accessible and applicable. More information on the review and revision process can be found here.
A survey of Standard implementers at the start of the process indicated that, overall, the Standard was working well, but it required updating and some refinement to take into account experience from implementations. Changes made to Version 2.0 have made the Standard much easier for sites to implement and the process of implementation now better reflects reality on the ground.
Version 2.0 of the AWS Standard provides water stewards with a five-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:
- Understand water dependencies and impacts
- Mitigate operational and supply chain water risks
- Ensure responsible water procedures are in place
- Build relationships with local water-related stakeholders
- Address challenges shared with others in the catchment
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 official language of the AWS Standard is English. If you would like a hard copy of the Standard or copies of any comments made on the Standard, please contact us.