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A vision of sustainable water management for Europe becomes reality

Date

25 Nov 2011

Sections

Climate & Environment
Sustainable Dev.

The European Water Stewardship launched today in Brussels.

Brussels, 24 November 2011. Water shortages, droughts and floods in a variety of European regions are raising public awareness of threats to an ever scarcer resource and increasing demand for effective responses as well as strategies for ensuring sustainable management.

Today a new, tried-and-tested system to support water users manage this precious resource responsibly is being launched in Brussels, at a ceremony headed by  European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik  and involving strategic heads of leading industries and agro-business.

The European Water Stewardship (EWS) is a system that will enable both industrial and agricultural users to manage water resources in a way that complies with current and upcoming EU legislation.

After two years of pilot projects in locations as diverse as chemical production plants in Germany and  farms in Cyprus, the EWS is now a practical tool, for immediate application.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, said he expects the EWS to contribute to the implementation of the EU water policy. In his intervention, he invited ”all water users in industry and agriculture to join this pioneering process, to help ensure the availability of water resources for the future”.

”One of the things that makes the EWS innovative is that it is flexible enough to apply to new and existing water management programs run by both large and small users, while at the same time respecting strict regulatory frameworks”, says Tom Vereijken, Chairman of the European Water Partnership, which operates the EWS.

Today the EWS makes its debut before an audience of over 150 participants including farmers, representatives of international business and European regions and municipalities, scientists, policy makers and NGOs. ”The EWS has the virtue of having a high stakeholder involvement from its conception”, says Lesha Witmer from Women for Water Partnership. “The involvement of citizens in the standard means that the economic and social aspects are taken in. The EWS is a very important first step toward genuine participation”.

The EWS partners and adherents (see list below) agree that only the complementary efforts of the private sector and an effective implementation of European legal requirements can provide long-term solutions for water management on a river basin scale.

The EWS is the integrated system for business and agriculture to assess, verify and communicate sustainable water management practices. It embodies the collective effort and know-how of water users in both sectors. The EWS follows on from the Water Vision for Europe, by defining a system of clear steps towards sustainable water management at operational and river basin level.

Active partners of the European Water Stewardship

- Alliance for Water Stewardship

- BASF

- Coca-Cola Europe

- Confederation of European Paper Industry, CEPI

- Control Union Certification

- Cyprus Organic Farmers Association

- European Environment Agency, EEA

- European Landowners Association, ELO

- Geographical Intercalibration Groups, GIG

- Local Governments for Sustainability, ICLEI

- RISE Foundation

- Universidad Complutense de Madrid

- VEGRAS

- Women for Water Partnership

For further information, please visit our website www.ewp.eu, or contact Lisa Strübbe, Communications Officer at +32 735 06 81 or +32 491 360 273, l.struebbe@ewp.eu

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