The water stewardship approach aims to promote the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) through collective action by communities. Stewardship goes beyond being an efficient water user and requires collaboration of the private sector with governments, other businesses, NGOs, communities, and others to protect shared freshwater resources. Water stewardship follows a five step approach;
1. Awareness on water issues;
2. Knowledge of impact;
3. Internal action;
4. Collective action;
5. Influence governance.
WWF is helping redefine the role of the private sector in advocating, supporting and promoting better basin governance for the benefit of people and nature. WWF-Pakistan has advocated the approach in Pakistan since 2008; some of the key initiatives taken in the domain are below.
Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standards
The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard provides a guidance framework to implement water stewardship on ground. Accoring to the AWS Strategy 2019-2021, ‘Water stewardship understands the importance of engaging users in the management of water resource. It recognizes the need to have a sound understanding of the condition of the resource and how it impacts on different users and their priorities.’
WWF-Pakistan has facilitated the agency to implement the AWS standard in Pakistan among MNCs, such as Nestlé Pakistan, as well as SMEs.
Under the ILES project, WWF-Pakistan aims to implement the AWS standard in 15 leather and textile sector SMEs in the country.
The Citywide Partnership, an initiative developed in 2014, is a network of public sector departments, private companies, technical experts and civil society actors committed to mitigating shared water risks. This partnership aims to promote constructive, open dialogues on priority water risks and mobilize resources, fostering new partnerships for improved water governance, adopting locally driven solutions to make measurable improvements in the overall water management of the region and linking these initiatives with governance or policymaking.
The Groundwater Working Group (GWG) is a subsidiary of the Citywide Partnership, proposed by the Irrigation Department with the aim to drive collaborative efforts on the conservation, protection and recharge of groundwater. The aim of GWG is to identify priority groundwater risks/threats, to develop and maintain a collective data base for gathering available data, studies, and research on Lahore’s groundwater and to draft a comprehensive groundwater recharge strategy.
Water Stewardship with Levi’s Vendors
WWF-Pakistan partnered with WWF-US and Levi Strauss and Co. (LS & Co) to promote water stewardship in the Indus Basin. The project activities included rapid needs assessment of water risks of five LS & Co vendors in Lahore. Recommendations were provided for within the fence-line water issues. Furthermore, business cases for Best Water Management Practices (BWMPs) were established to improve resource efficiency within enterprises.