What we do
AWS's water stewardship program is currently under development. Central to this is the Global Water Roundtable: a multi-year, multi-stakeholder standard development process that will result in an International Water Stewardship Standard which, in turn, will provide the basis for the program. Our aim is to directly provide, or facilitate access to, the range of services that water users need to achieve their facility and watershed level targets.
To do so, AWS's program must be relevant for a diverse range of stakeholders, from both public and private sectors, and to civil society. One of the keys will be our ability to forge strong and meaningful partnerships, both at an international level and at a local watershed level.
Simultaneously, the development of AWS as an organization has been moving forward. We are currently defining the governance and business models for AWS, and in so doing moving to an international membership-based structure which will meet the needs of the global diversity of our stakeholders.
The AWS Board aims to establish a multi-stakeholder and membership-based governance structure that will reflect both regional and sector representation.
During its meeting in Stockholm on September 5th and 6th the AWS Board discussed proposals for implementing this structure. These discussions were informed by extensive stakeholder consultations (formal and informal) that have been held over the last 14 months. The AWS Board has agreed to transition to a membership structure and begin processing applications in early 2014.
Membership: Members will be organized into regional and stakeholder groups for governance purposes.
- AWS members will have the opportunity to join either via Regional Initiatives or through AWS International.
- It will be possible to join AWS in multiple regions simultaneously with fees being scaled accordingly.
- Membership will also be organized by the three stakeholder groups that have been central to the Water Roundtable process: Business and Water Service Provides, Public Sector Agencies and Civil Society Organizations.
*NOTE: The membership structures of current AWS Regional Initiatives in Australia and Europe will be aligned with that of AWS International to avoid duplication and ensure clarity and consistency in membership services and benefits.
Membership Levels and Fees: Recognizing that water stewardship is a progression for many companies and other stakeholders, AWS membership will follow a differentiated structure, enabling stakeholders to engage at a level appropriate to their circumstances.
- Entry level membership will be targeted mainly at organizations just beginning their stewardship journeys.
- Advanced level membership will give organizations access to a range of practical benefits associated with AWS. This may include access to events or training at reduced rates
- Fees for basic and full membership will be based on sector and scale of organization (e.g. net income).
*NOTE: More details on the membership offering and timeline for implementation will be published on our website before the end of 2013.
Governance: Governance of AWS will be coordinated through a General Assembly and elected Board
- The General Assembly will be comprised of members drawn from Regions and International.
- Voting systems on the General Assembly will aim to achieve a balance between stakeholders. This will be achieved in-part through the percentage of representation allocated to Regions and International.
The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard
The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard (the Standard) is designed to be an international, ISEAL-compliant, standard that defines a set of water stewardship principles, criteria, and indicators for how water should be stewarded at a site and watershed level in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically beneficial. The Standard is intended to provide water stewards with an approach for evaluating the existing processes and performances within their sites and watersheds, and ensuring that responsible water stewardship actions are in place to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts.
Applications of the Beta AWS Standard
Since releasing the Beta AWS Standard in March 2013 we have secured commitments to apply the Standard at 14 sites in nine countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and USA. For more information on these projects download our Update on Beta Applications.
AWS has extended the review period of the Beta AWS Standard through December 31st, 2013. Please click on the following link to access the feedback form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KKKZH3S. NOTE: Sites implementing the Beta Standard are not beholden to this deadline. To download and view a copy of the Beta AWS Standard, click here.
If you have any difficulties accessing the site, please email Nicole Tanner (firstname.lastname@example.org) for alternatives.
First Draft International Water Stewardship Standard (March 2012)
The first draft international water stewardship standard was released in March 2012 at the World Water Forum in Marseille, France. Designed as an intentionally incomplete draft, this first version of the AWS Standard was open to a formal public feedback period through June 2012.
We received comments from over 400 stakeholders in 26 countries on the first draft AWS Standard (including 200 from AWS-LAC's Regional Forum participants and 130 from AWS-NA's regional stakeholder meetings). Stakeholders (40% from the Business and Water Service Providers, 38% from Civil Society and 22% from Public Sector Agencies) provided valuable feedback in particular in the following areas:
1) how Important Water Areas were determined,
2) how the Area of Influence was determined and its role in the Standard,
3) what the role of implementers and promoters should be in the Standard,
4) how the Standard should integrate indirect water use and supply chain issues,
5) how the Standard should be structured (steps, levels, principles, etc.)
Testing the Beta Standard of Final AWS International Water Stewardship Standard
The second draft is designed to be as close to the final version of the AWS Standard as possible and thus is being referred to as the Beta Standard. While the Standard will again be open to feedback from stakheholders during a public review period (March 22nd-December 31st, 2013), when released, this version will be designed to be fully operational and applied in the field. This next version of the AWS Standard will be accompanied with additional details and has been heavily modified based upon stakeholder feedback.
At this time, AWS is beginning to line up application sites to determine the viability of the Standard. Accordingly, AWS has produced three documents to support this testing:
1) An introduction to field testing (2 pages)
2) A Field Testing Guide (19 pages)
3) A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on field testing (6 pages)
These can be downloaded below and are working versions that may be altered through time.
Beginning in July 2010, AWS launched the Global Water Roundtable- the name of the process that will develop the Water Stewardship Standard. Based upon the ISEAL Alliance's Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, the Water Roundtable will seek out a multi-stakeholder consensus through meetings and pilots held throughout the world. Throughout the multi-year Water Roundtable, stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide input into how the Standard is shaped through online feedback, in-person meetings, and field testing. There will be two formal 90-day review periods (Spring 2012, Fall/Winter 2012/13), as well as general feedback opportunities at any point.
International Standard Development Committee
The decision-making body that will have the say as to what is included or not in the Standard is known as the International Standard's Development Committee (ISDC). Made up of 15 individuals from throughout the world, the ISDC aims to represent different stakeholder groups, from businesses and water service providers, public sector agencies and civil society organizations.
The details of how the Water Roundtable operates, as well as the governance model behind the ISDC are provided in the Water Roundtable process document, which was published and reviewed by stakeholders in January 2011 and is available for download on the right of this page.
The ISDC first met in July, 2011 in Sri Lanka and has meetings every month (remotely) as well as in-person meetings every 3-4 months in various regions to develop the content of the first draft and incorporate stakeholder feedback. A draft framework for the Standard will be complete in the fall of 2011 with a first draft developed in early 2012. AWS anticipates that this final version of the Standard will be complete in 2013 after which it will undergo periodic reviews and modifications to further meet the needs of stakeholders. At the end of the Water Roundtable, a completed Standard will be approved by the AWS Board and this version will form the first International Water Stewardship Standard.
For additional information on the current status of the Standard, please sign up for our newsletter, follow our other updates. For additional information on how to get involved, please go to "How to get involved".
Water Roundtable Launch
On June 15 -16, 2010, a group of 90 public, commercial, and civil society stakeholders from around the world got together in Brussels, Belgium, and launched the Alliance for Water Stewardship's (AWS) multi-year Water Roundtable (WRT) (the 'Launch'). The WRT will be the keystone stakeholder engagement process being used to develop international water stewardship standards. At the Launch, core presentations covered everything from Why are we here? to How can we build agreement? During the WRT working group sessions, which were full of engaged and lively discussion, WRT participants tested and refined both the AWS's rationale for its work, and its preliminary models for international water stewardship standards. The AWS gained valuable feedback from its initial group of stakeholders at the Launch; the path ahead for developing an international water stewardship program is clear, challenging, and exciting.
Several important insights emerged from the Launch. Here are just a few of them:
A Water Stewardship Program can provide both short and long-term benefits to the actual participants in such a program--businesses and water service providers--as well as to civil society members, different levels of government and government agencies, and other stakeholders with important roles and responsibilities on water issues;
A leadership group within the larger WRT participant pool (with participation coming from all of the regional water stewardship initiatives) needs to be developed. This group will be called the Water Roundtable Steering Committee (WRTSC). Furthermore, there are three considerations for the WRTSC. First, the WRTSC needs to be put together in a thoughtful, careful way, so as to ensure that proper regional and sectoral interests are represented and actively involved with the work of the WRTSC. Second, the WRTSC needs to have clear and comprehensive guidance developed for it by the AWS as to how it will function. Third, the WRTSC will need to determine the proper way to work with AWS regional water stewardship initiatives to develop global water stewardship standards with regional variability, and will also need to determine how best to build all of the other aspects of a permanent global water stewardship program.
There are any number of ways for interested stakeholders to participate in the work of the AWS: decision-making roles, advisory roles, financial support, and at different 'levels' of the work too: the WRT level, regional water stewardship initiative level, or in a sectoral, technical, organizational governance planning, or other similar role.
If you would like to be involved in the Water Roundtable, please contact Alexis Morgan.
Beta version of AWS Standard
Updates on Standard development
Materials for use with the AWS Beta Standard Application
First draft of AWS International Water Stewardship Standard
First Draft AWS Standard: Summary and Brief Overview
(PDF - 982KB)
AWS Standard Frist Draft - English
(PDF - 982KB)
AWS Standard Guidance - English
(PDF - 701KB)
AWS Standard First Draft - Espagnol / Spanish
(PDF - 1.2MB)
AWS Standard Guidance - Espagnol / Spanish
(PDF - 760KB)
AWS Standard First Draft - 中国的 / Chinese
(PDF - 1.61MB)
AWS Standard Guidance - 中国的 / Chinese
(PDF - 806KB)
AWS Standard First Draft - Francais / French
(PDF - 1.57MB)
AWS Standard Guidance - Francais / French
(PDF - 944KB)
AWS Standard First Draft - Português / Portuguese
(PDF - 1.14MB)
Water Roundtable Documents
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Information on AWS's training program is coming soon. Please check back in the coming months for details.