The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard is a globally recognized framework that promotes responsible water stewardship in organizations and communities. It provides a comprehensive set of criteria and guidelines to help businesses, industries, and water users manage water resources in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner.
The AWS Standard is designed to address water-related challenges and ensure the long-term availability and quality of water sources. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration and engagement with local stakeholders, including communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations, to achieve sustainable water management.
Key elements of the AWS Standard include:
Good Water Governance: The AWS Standard encourages effective water governance, including transparent decision-making processes, engagement with relevant stakeholders, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It promotes responsible water management that considers the needs of all stakeholders and balances competing water demands.
Sustainable Water Balance: The AWS Standard focuses on achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and water use. It encourages organizations to assess their water sources and impacts, implement measures to improve water use efficiency, and promote water conservation and reuse practices.
Good Water Quality: The AWS Standard emphasizes the protection and improvement of water quality. It encourages organizations to monitor and manage their water discharges to prevent pollution and maintain the integrity of aquatic ecosystems. It also promotes the use of sustainable water treatment technologies and practices.
Important Water-Related Areas: The AWS Standard recognizes the importance of protecting and restoring critical water-related areas, such as wetlands, catchment areas, and groundwater recharge zones. It encourages organizations to assess the risks and impacts associated with their operations and take appropriate actions to conserve and restore these areas.
Engaging Stakeholders: The AWS Standard promotes stakeholder engagement and collaboration throughout the water management process. It encourages organizations to involve local communities, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders in decision-making, planning, and implementation of water-related initiatives.
Continuous Improvement: The AWS Standard emphasizes the need for continuous improvement in water stewardship practices. It encourages organizations to set goals, monitor performance, and regularly review and update their water management strategies to achieve better outcomes over time.
Achieving AWS certification involves an independent third-party assessment of an organization's adherence to the AWS Standard's criteria. This certification demonstrates a commitment to responsible water management and provides credibility and recognition for organizations that meet the rigorous requirements.
By adopting the AWS Standard, organizations can contribute to the sustainable management of water resources, mitigate water-related risks, and enhance their reputation as environmentally responsible entities. Ultimately, the AWS Standard aims to foster a collective effort towards safeguarding water resources for present and future generations.