AWS Newsletter July 2017
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Editorial, John Langford, Chair, WSA

Water is a topic that oscillates between complacency and panic: when it rains, the community takes water for granted even though it is a fundamental element to their existence. However, when it stops raining, panic sets in as the serious consequences of water shortages come into sharp focus.
For most of its short life Water Stewardship Australia has had to work very hard to gain traction in an era of water complacency. Looking back, it is remarkable what WSA has achieved in such a challenging environment
However, there is emerging evidence that we in southern Australia are on the cusp of a new era of water panic.
Much of southern Australia has had the lowest June rainfall in over 100 years of historical record and BoM is predicting a significant likelihood that the period of low rainfall will continue through to September!
The intensity of the Sub Tropical High Pressure Ridge is increasing with global warming pushing the westerly weather systems further south so that the rain is falling over the Southern Ocean instead of southern Australia. A coincident positive Southern Annular Mode is reinforcing this southward movement of weather systems.
The increasing interest in water affairs and the need for good water management practices provides an opportunity for Water Stewardship Australia to further its work.  

 

Reports demonstrate need for Water Stewardship

Two recent reports highlight the relevance of water stewardship to Australia’s water challenges.  (1) Melbourne Water and the City’s three water retailers recently published three scenarios for Melbourne’s water future.  The worst-case scenario saw demand for water exceeding supply by 2028.  But with lower demand and lower climate change impacts supply could meet demand to 2065 and beyond.  Water stewardship helps to address demand by engaging major water-users in understanding the catchment challenges and then developing their site water stewardship plans.  It sets industry on a path of continuous improvement to address water balance, water quality, important water-related sites and water governance.  Melbourne Water is a member of Water Stewardship Australia.  (2) A Four Corners report on implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan highlighted the risks of cheating on the Plan and environmental water being taken for private economic use.  Water stewardship offers a bottom-up mechanism to encourage and reward legal compliance and progress toward best practice.  Implementation of site water stewardship plans is verified by accredited certification bodies.  Past collaboration with the Murray Darling Basin Commission supported development of water stewardship.  WSA is currently working with the South Australian Government to promote good water stewardship.

Riverland takes a giant leap forward!

South Australia’s Riverland has taken the next step in its water stewardship journey following a recent meeting in Adelaide.  The Riverland Water Productivity Cluster Steering Group has formally supported a decision of the Renmark Irrigation Trust (RIT) to seek AWS Water Stewardship Certification.  If successful it would make Renmark, the first irrigation trust in Australia with a history of more than 100 years of operation, the first irrigation scheme in the world to be verified as an AWS water steward.  This decision to proceed with AWS certification follows a recent agreement between the RIT and the Australian Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) to distribute environmental water on behalf of CHEW.  It is hoped the verification will be completed by the end of this year and become the first of a series of projects within the Riverland.  The project has been supported by the South Australian Government and the National Australia Bank.

Buzz at the Western Port Biosphere

There is a growing Water Stewardship Community at the Western Port Biosphere. Several new farms, businesses and organisations have committed to developing a Site Water Stewardship Plan for their properties. This will help the Ramsar wetlands, Marine National Park and improve sustainability and biodiversity of the Biosphere.
Moreover, the Biosphere has developed a regional recognition program to support and acknowledge its water stewards.
Landholders, businesses and organisations developing a Site Water Stewardship Plan with a signed commitment with the Biosphere are entitled to use the Western Port Biosphere Water Stewardship logo (to the left) on their documents and websites.
Water Stewards who have completed their Site Water Stewardship Plans using the Biosphere accredited template (which conforms to the AWS International Standard for Water Stewardship), completed an AWS self-verification assessment and had their Plan checked by a member of the Biosphere’s Water Stewardship team with Advanced Water Stewardship Training, will receive a gate/office sign (to the right) in recognition of their achievement.

"Another type of agriculture is possible!"

“Iberesparragal”, a citrus farm in the Guadalquivir basin (Spain), in collaboration with the German supermarket chain EDEKA and WWF has been working on implementing the AWS Standards with the help of Good Stuff International.
The practical benefits of applying the standards are to improve the sustainability of water use and consequently reduce water consumption, increase biodiversity protection and optimize the use of chemicals.
The implementation of the AWS standard has helped to organise existing information related to water on the farm and to create new information, cartography and systems to increase understanding of the water use at the farm and catchment level.
The implementation has generated a deeper understanding with producers on water beyond the fenceline of the farm, on the catchment. The producer understands now that the catchment is an interconnected system and that the main risks and opportunities related to water are shared with other water users in the catchment. This has helped producers to create a water stewardship plan in which the stakeholder engagement is a key piece.
The implementation of the AWS standard also showcased the usefulness of different tools to drive Water Stewardship like the Geographic Agricultural Water Footprint Calculator (GAWFC), the WWF Water Risk Filter and the WaterData4Action.
According to Luis Bolaños, Manager of the citrus farm, this process has shown him that "Another type of agriculture is possible!"

Upcoming AWS training in Bangkok

AWS is conducting special training programmes in Bangkok in the month of August intended for managers implementing water stewardship at a site or working with implementers as consultants or conformity assessment bodies.
There are two different training courses on offer:
The AWS Advanced Training Program is a two-day course for people implementing water stewardship in their operations or wanting to provide accredited consulting, auditing or training services.
The Specialist Training Program is a one-day course for people seeking accreditation as AWS accredited auditors, consultants and trainers.
Mates Rates for our AWS members and early bird reservations. Secure your spot by contacting zhenzhen@a4ws.org
 
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The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is the global umbrella organisation for AWS Water Stewardship and has a network of regional partners to assist local implementation of the system. Water Stewardship Australia Limited (WSA) is the regional partner managing AWS Water Stewardship operations in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, South East Asia, East Asia including China and collaborates with AWS international in South Asia.






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Alliance for Water Stewardship Asia-Pacific · PO Box 184 · East Melbourne, VIC 8002 · Australia

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