The world faces a range of environmental challenges that will impact its future prosperity, such as climate change and water scarcity. Pressure on water resources is reaching unsustainable levels.
Sound water management and sanitation are central for improving quality of life, alleviating poverty, hunger, and promoting sustainable development, environmental integrity and health.
Standards in water management provide tools for better management of resources, improved monitoring and improved quality for consumers. Better management means better efficiency, and therefore cost effectiveness.
Water footprinting – an area of increasing importance within water/ resource management – can help assess and prepare for future risks to water use, identify ways to reduce the environmental impacts of water use, improve efficiency, and provide consistent and reliable reports.
Standards within water management can be divided into two main categories – water quality management and water footprinting.
Water Quality Management
By providing the tools to improve analysis and sampling practice, and enabling better, more efficient responses to risk, water quality standards are of most relevance to:
- Government and regulatory bodies
- Water and waste water service providers
- Laboratories and consultants engaged in monitoring activities
- Planners, designers, contractors and construction companies
Implementation of water quality standards is key to ensuring the water supply is fit for purpose. Standards for microbiological, biological and chemical test methods help support the Water Framework Directive, improving how organizations comply with regulatory requirements.
The sampling and analysis of water supplies is one of the key elements in the protection of public health. Water quality standards enable cost reduction through greater control, improved resource efficiency and better mitigation of risk from unsafe water, pollution and scarcity.
Links to standards related to Water Quality Management
Guide to on-site test methods for the analysis of waters.
Water quality. Risk assessments for Legionella control. Code of practice.
BS EN 14996
Water quality. Guidance on assuring the quality of biological and ecological assessments in the aquatic environment.
BS EN ISO 5667-series
Water quality. Sampling.
Sampling for Legionella bacteria in water systems. Code of practice
Provision and management of temporary water supplies and distribution networks (not including provisions for statutory emergencies). Code of practice.
Sampling and monitoring of water from building services closed systems. Code of practice.
Sustainability is a priority for consumers, businesses and governments today, many of whom are concerned about excessive demand on limited natural resources and the environmental impacts caused. They are interested to know what action is being taken to minimize this demand, especially in relation to water and climate change.
Current patterns of production and consumption undoubtedly have an impact on the environment, climate change and water resources. Understanding this impact, or “footprint”, is a vital step towards finding strategies to reduce it.
Water footprinting can provide decision-makers in industry, government and non-governmental organizations with a means to estimate the potential impact of water use and pollution, based on a life-cycle assessment. This can be achieved by measuring the use of water and the impacts of that water use throughout the life-cycles of products, processes and organizations.
A water footprint assessment can help with:
- Assessing the magnitude of potential environmental impacts related to water
- Identifying ways to reduce potential water-related impacts of products at various lifecycle stages, and of processes and organizations
- Facilitating water efficiency and optimization of water management at product, process and organizational levels
- Providing scientifically consistent and reliable information for reporting water footprint results
Links to standards related to Water Footprinting
BS EN ISO 14046
Environmental management. Water footprint. Principles, requirements and guidelines.
Links to other related materials
Water Footprint Assessment
The water footprint assessment manual: Setting the global standard.
The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard
Beta AWS Standard (March 2013). This standard is in development.
European Commission's Organisational Environmental Footprinting.
European Commission's Product Environmental Footprinting.