Solving the growing world water crises – including myriad sources of pollution, shortages, droughts and more – will require all hands on deck. Several global alliances and initiatives are showing us how businesses, nonprofits/NGOs, and governments can come together to address water concerns.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and several partners, for example, have been instrumental in developing the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and its Standards (I and II, the latter released in early 2019). “Through the AWS, WWF partners with global leaders in sustainable water management to promote the use of fresh water in a way that is socially, economically and environmentally beneficial,” WWF says. As a founding board member, WWF worked with The Nature Conservancy, the Pacific Institute, the United Nations Environment Programme and others to create and structure the AWS.
AWS “members contribute to the sustainability of local water resources through their adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the AWS Standard – that drives, recognizes and rewards good water stewardship performance,” AWS says. The Standards “comprise a 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.”
Version 2.0 of the AWS Standard provides water stewards with a five-step continual improvement framework that focuses on good water governance, sustainable water balance, good water quality status, important water-related areas, and safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
Learn more about the Alliance for Water Stewardship here.