Water stewardship

Good quality freshwater availability is one of the most significant challenges of our time. Water users need to look far beyond their fences and work together in order to address water-related challenges at the catchment level. This approach is called water stewardship.

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Our experts offer crystal clear methods for water management and straightforward approaches to assess your water risks.

Defining water stewardship versus water management

Water stewardship goes far beyond classical water management. According to the definition of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), water stewardship is the use of water that is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site- and catchment-based actions. Good water stewards understand their own water use, catchment context and shared concerns in terms of water governance; water balance; water quality; Important Water-Related Areas (IWRAs); Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and then engage in meaningful individual and collective actions that benefit people, the economy and nature.


Companies must use water responsibly to ensure the ongoing availability of this essential resource for communities and nature, and at the same time reduce and manage their own physical, regulatory and reputational water risks.

How water stewardship can benefit your company

  • Increase water efficiency and reduce costs
  • Know and manage your water-related risks
  • Achieve and maintain water-related legal compliance.
  • Contribute to a healthy water catchment
  • Strengthen the relationship with your stakeholders
  • Maintain your license to build community trust.

From water management to water stewardship:

look over your fence and improve your performance in terms of Environmental Social Governance (ESG).

Our water-related services

Since the start of water efficiency projects in 2007, more than 60 plants from the F&B sector worldwide have been assessed by denkstatt to improve water performance.

We develop tailor-made water-related tools for our clients and have experience in water footprint assessments. Furthermore, we support many companies in evaluating their water risks, reporting on water (e.g. CSRD, SBTN, TNFD, CDP, GRI), understanding and implementing the AWS (Water Stewardship Standard) and developing their water strategies.

denkstatt supports you in water management and Water Stewardship
We support you in different stages of your processes and find a strategy that suits your company!


Frequently asked questions on water stewardship

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is a global membership collaboration comprising businesses, NGOs and the public sector. AWS members contribute to the sustainability of local water resources through the adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the International Water Stewardship Standard, or AWS Standard – that drives, recognizes and rewards good water stewardship performance.

Water-related risk is the possibility of an organization experiencing a water-related challenge, e.g., water scarcity, water stress, flooding, infrastructure decay or drought.

An organization will not have a comprehensive understanding of its risk exposure and the most appropriate response unless it is able to take account of the local basin context and conditions. River basin level risk assessment is particularly relevant to a water stewardship approach to securing water resources as collaboration with other basin users and external stakeholders is central to understanding and managing risk.

Three types of water-related risks are considered:

  • Physical risk: risk driven by water stress or scarcity, flooding or pollution.
  • Regulatory risk: risks driven by an expected or unexpected change or uncertainty in law or regulation that may have direct or indirect impacts on a company.
  • Reputational risk: risk driven by litigation, product risks due to changes in consumer behavior, and risks that may impact decisions made by investors, consumers and current/potential employees concerning a company.

A clear water map, detailed and accurate water metering and consequent monitoring are key elements to start working on water efficiency performance at the site level. Then, main consumers are identified, optimal operation ranges are calculated and improvement opportunities can be revealed.

There are tangible benefits to disclosing:

  • Protect and improve your company’s reputation – build trust through transparency and respond to rising environmental concerns among the public.
  • Boost your competitive advantage – gain a competitive edge when it comes to performance on the stock market, access to capital and winning tenders.
  • Track and benchmark progress – benchmark your environmental performance against your industry peers, with an internationally recognized sustainability score and feedback against your climate targets.
  • Uncover risks and opportunities – identify emerging environmental risks and opportunities that would otherwise be overlooked, to inform data-driven strategy.
  • Get ahead of regulation – in a world in which mandatory disclosure is gaining momentum, disclosing through CDP enables companies to meet reporting rules in multiple regions. With CDP, you’ll be fully aligned with the best-practice TCFD recommendations.

Disclosure is the essential first step to drive environmental action, and CDP is the gold standard for corporate environmental reporting.

Water is an essential natural resource that many businesses depend on, and most likely will become material to report for many companies. If water is defined as a material topic, companies need to report on several points (ESRS E3) related to:

  • How material water and marine resources-related impacts, risks, and opportunities are identified.
  • Policies and actions related to managing water and marine resources
  • Metric and targets including withdrawal and discharges, broken down by geography and business segment
  • Anticipated financial effects from water and marine resources-related impacts, risks, and opportunities.

Considering the financial effects linked to water consumption and the increasing threat of water scarcity, improving the monitoring and reporting of water resources will be of crucial importance for businesses.

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