11 May 2020
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Water is the quiet power source of our lives, both in industries and the natural world – but it is not something we own, and its management must be understood in its wider context. Water stewardship, when done right, allows businesses to balance and forecast their water needs with the needs of communities, other water users and the natural world.

On the agenda and rising

Water stewardship is the responsible management of water by all users in a watershed. It is about caring for water in a social, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial way. As water stewardship is vital, its importance is rising on the agenda of nations and industries alike.

This is driven by a number of factors: at a national level there is political and social pressure to strengthen water security and improve quality; and for businesses there is a drive to sustain water availability in order to secure their operations in the long run. Water stewardship is about mutual benefit; it safeguards water supplies for all stakeholders. For industries, investing in efficient water use, re-use and recycling is a way to show their commitment to communities and to preserve the quality of water resources.

 Water stewardship for water management and reduce water stress | Royal HaskoningDHV

Our insight and solutions

At Royal HaskoningDHV we support businesses in understanding and implementing proper water stewardship. This can range from insight on how to understand your own water use and solutions as to how you can be more efficient; to understanding water outside your own organisation and support in interacting with governments and water companies. We also support businesses understand the risks they’re facing, both now and in the long-term, if they don’t manage their resource properly.

Effective water management requires a stakeholder-driven process, in which many different parties must come together. It is hard to implement in isolation – after all, it’s no use one business in an area implementing sustainable water use if everyone else continues to pollute! So here we help too in engaging with stakeholders, helping to build partnerships and maintain cooperation.

One of these stakeholders is the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) – an international organisation bringing together businesses, NGOs and the public sector, around a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the International Water Stewardship Standard.

High water stress in Indonesia

Indonesia is one country where Royal HaskoningDHV have been working for many years and the need for water stewardship is particularly apparent due to a high stress on the nation’s clean, usable water capacity as a result of pollution and lack of treatment or distribution systems. On top of this the allocation of water is changing in a country where land-use is changing alongside rapid urbanisation, causing huge water demands.

We have worked, in partnership with the AWS, to support several businesses in improving their water sustainability. This was all with the aim of providing better insights for their current water management practices, address water-related risks at sites, create more financial and environmental benefits and make claims on its good water management practices.

Water stewardship for water management and reduce water stress | Royal HaskoningDHV

This was made possible through full assessments of sites – including water quality monitoring and data analysis – that informed recommendations and reports on improvements that could be made and the risks and financial costs that could result in not making them.

A collective resource, a collective responsibility

Our reporting, assessments, and suggested improvements in Indonesia, did not just incorporate measures at a site level, but also up and downstream in the wider catchment areas.

This is important to the wider picture, because ultimately, water is a collective resource – and in order to manage and sustain it for many decades to come, we must work collectively too; cooperating between the private and public sector to ensure both industries and communities alike can benefit from proper water availability and usage.

If water stewardship is on your agenda, let us know and see how we can support or guide you through the process.

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