AWS Standard System AWS Standard System
AWS Standard AWS Standard
Training Training
Membership Membership
Verification Verification

In pursuit of our mission to promote the responsible use of freshwater we have structured our standards system into three programs:

  • Training and capacity building program
  • Verification program
  • Membership program

These three programs are complementary and serve to reinforce one another to ensure that the AWS Standard System provides a credible and robust implementation of the AWS Standard.

We will implement the AWS Standard System in two phases: an initial phase (Phase 1: estimated 2015-2016) will be used to understand how these programs interact with each other and to ensure capacity is sufficient to meet system needs. The second phase (Phase 2: 2017+) will incorporate and necessary adaptations based on learning gained during Phase 1. Input from implementers of the AWS Standard, accredited service providers and AWS members will be crucial in the development of an impactful and sustainable long-term model.  

The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard

The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard (AWS Standard) is an international, ISEAL-compliant, standard that defines a set of water stewardship criteria and indicators for how water should be stewarded at a site and catchment level in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically beneficial. 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, and
  • ensure that responsible water stewardship actions are in place to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts for everyone.

The AWS Standard can be implemented by any site, in any sector, in any catchment around the world. Furthermore, the Standard can be harnessed by others interested in mitigating corporate risks, such as water-related supply chain risks or investors, as well as public sector agencies as a framework to evaluate water stewardship practices.

Free to download, the AWS Standard will also soon be supported by a verification system which will enable verification of practices, the use of claims and AWS verified logos. The verification system will recognize the different levels of performance outlined in the AWS Standard and will offer independent verification of performance developed by members in a robust and credible manner. AWS has targeted to have completed, tested and launched the verification system by the end of 2014.

The AWS Standard is managed by the members of the Alliance for Water Stewardship and informed by a technical advisory group.

To get involved in its ongoing development or to register your interest in pursuing verification (once available), please contact AWS.

To find out more on how the AWS Standard was developed, please visit our page on the Water Roundtable.

To provide comments on this version of the standard, please contact Adrian Sym. contact AWS

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. 

AWS Training program

AWS offers training to organizations and individuals interested in understanding water stewardship, implementing the AWS Standard or working within the AWS system, including consultants, trainers and auditors. Our aim is to enable organizations from all sectors to access the knowledge they need to advocate for and implement water stewardship.

Up-coming training opportunities around the world

The next opportunities to enhance your water stewardship knowledge will be:

February 7-10, Lahore, Pakistan. More information.

February 14-16, Bangkok, Thailand. More information.

March 21-23, Brussels, Belgium (co-hosted with EWS). More information.

March 28-30, Milwaukee, WI, USA. More information on Foundation, Advanced & Specialist modules.

March 2017 (exact dates TBC), Nairobi, Kenya. For more information contact Adrian Sym


Key benefits of AWS training

Access the latest knowledge
Developed by leading organizations like The Nature Conservancy, SGS, WWF, Water Stewardship Australia, AWS training is at the leading edge of water stewardship thinking worldwide.
Learn from practical experience
We utilize experience implementing the AWS Standard, helping translate learning into tangible improvements in water use.
Understand your local context
Our network of regional partners will ensure courses respond to local needs.
Get the knowledge you need
A modular approach ensures there is the right course for you, regardless of where you are on your stewardship journey.
Get on track for the AWS standard
Our step-wise approach helps you along your stewardship journey, making the AWS Standard more accessible.

Rooted in experience of implementing the AWS Standard, participants will benefit from real-world experiences of water stewardship on the ground.

Courses will be offered step-wise, from introductory to advanced, with modules on specific topics according to demand.

AWS training will also be delivered via partners and accredited trainers at a regional level. Modules will be customized to meet local needs, and, where possible, integrated into other training programs.

As part of the premier organization on water stewardship, AWS training will be regularly updated, ensuring it remains at the leading edge of water stewardship worldwide

Whether you are a major water user, a regulatory body, a natural resource manager or a civil society group; AWS’s training can give you what you need to advocate for and implement responsible water stewardship.



AWS Introdctory Membership is now open

Multi-stakeholder participation is a core principle of water stewardship. AWS is implementing a system of multi-stakeholder governance through a membership structure based on participation from all sectors.

The first phase of AWS membership will be “Introductory Membership” up to the end of 2016. Organizations joining AWS as introductory members will participate in the design of a long-term membership package to be implemented from 2017.

Who can join AWS?

AWS Introductory Membership is open to legally registered organizations that are committed to the principles of water stewardship and to promoting the water stewardship system.

What are the benefits of AWS Introductory Membership?

Joining AWS as an Introductory Member AWS will provide the opportunity to

  • Promote your organization’s support for responsible use of freshwater
  • Help to shape the technical development of the AWS system, including the AWS Standard, verification system and accreditation program.
  • Participate in shaping AWS governance and organizational structures
  • Build partnerships with other leading organizations

Membership categories

AWS Introductory Members are recognised as belonging to three categories: private sector, public sector and civil society groups.   

Membership structure

AWS will be governed by its members, in accordance with an approved constitution (for a copy of the constitution please get in touch). The General Assembly of members will elect the AWS Board as well as the Technical Committee to review the AWS Standard and other technical material, and to ensure the integrity and quality control of the AWS system.

How to join AWS?

To join AWS as an Introductory Member please download the membership application form and submit it to: INFO(AT)ALLIANCEFORWATERSTEWARDSHIP(DOT)ORG

Introductory membership fees

AWS Introductory membership fees are outlined below, but we would of course welcome more substantial support to help accelerate the growth of AWS. 


The AWS Verification Program provides for two types of assessment against the AWS Standard processes: self-verification and certification through a third-party conformity assessment body (CAB). The following diagram presents a comparison of the processes and associated terms.












The AWS Standard System is rooted in four normative documents:

The following table illustrates the purpose and audience for these documents

AWS system  documentation