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Rivers and Lakes

A New Approach to Water Stewardship

The Water Stewardship Certification provides an incentive for large-scale water users.

From Colorado to Australia, demand for fresh water is far outpacing supply across the globe.

As our water resources are sucked dry, the diversity of animal and plant life they support suffers too.

In response, the Conservancy has established the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), an international partnership with a mission to develop the world’s first water stewardship certification program for people involved in water management. 

The Water Stewardship Certification program will:

  • Define standards for how water should be used and managed in a way that minimizes impacts on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Provide an incentive for large-scale water users to meet these standards so that their water management practices can be certified as sustainable.

To understand why water certification is needed, nature.org talked with two Conservancy program directors to learn how growing demand for water is affecting two iconic river systems: The Colorado River in the United States and the Murray-Darling River Basin in southeastern Australia.

A Lifeline in the Arid West
Taylor Hawes, Colorado River program director
"A water stewardship certification program that recognizes and rewards sustainable water use could greatly improve the health of the Colorado." Read more... 

A Green Belt of Life
Michael Looker, Australian program director
"...an over-allocation of water resources has so adversely affected the health of the [Murray-Darling River] basin it has now reached a critical state." Read more...

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