Best Practice: A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means and that can be used as a benchmark.
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Catchment: See “Watershed”

Collective Action: A coordinated engagement among interested parties within an agreed-upon process in support of common objectives.
Source: CEO Water Mandate – Guide to Water-Related Collective Action

Context-Based Water Target: A specific time-bound objective that sets the desired outcome to include both a component that speaks to the company’s water performance and a component that speaks to the basin’s conditions. Context-based water targets better inform audiences on the extent to which performance respects the agreed upon thresholds of the basin or supports public policy.
Source: CEO Water Mandate – Exploring the Case for Corporate Context-Based Water Targets

Corporate Water Stewardship: An approach that allows companies to identify and manage water-related business risks, understand and mitigate their adverse impacts on ecosystems and communities, and contribute to and help enable more sustainable management of shared freshwater resources. Stewardship is rooted in the concept that robust and effective public water governance is critical to the long-term business viability of water-intensive industries and that companies can play a role in helping to achieve this end.
Source: The Pacific Institute

Environmental Flows: Describes the quantity, quality and timing of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems.
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Integrated Water Resource Management: a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Integrity: Water stewardship initiatives that display clear objectives and demonstrable outcomes that advance sustainable water management, trustworthy, credible, and accountable participants, inclusive, transparent, and responsive processes and governance that lead to informed and balanced decision-making.
Source: CEO Water Mandate – Enhance the Integrity of Your Water Stewardship Initiative

River Basin: The area of land from which all surface runoff and subsurface waters flow through a sequence of streams, rivers, aquifers and lakes into the sea or another outlet at a single river mouth, estuary or delta. River basins include associated groundwater areas and may include portions of water bodies (such as lakes or rivers). Also referred to as “catchment” and “watershed.”
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Shared Risk: Water challenges that threaten both community and private sector viability, incentivizing companies to invest in sustainable water management outside of their direct fenceline.
Source: CEO Water Mandate – Shared Water Challenges and Interests

Shared Water Challenge: The water-related issues that are of interest or concern to both the site and to other stakeholders in the catchment and which, if addressed, will provide positive impacts or prevent negative impacts. Shared water challenges are not necessarily unique and may be the same for multiple sites or stakeholders.
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Officially known as “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets among them. Spearheaded by the United Nations through a deliberative process involving its 193 Member States, as well as global civil society, the goals are contained in paragraph 54 United Nations Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015.
Source: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

WASH: An acronym used in the international development landscape to refer to the combined area of effort to address basic human water needs and rights related to accessible, safe water. WASH includes the provision of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene education and is primarily sought after to combat water-related illnesses and diseases.
Source: UNICEF

Water Balance: The change in water supply at a site level, or at a catchment level, determined by the difference between average intake, precipitation, evapotranspiration and water discharge (typically taken at the main drain of the site or catchment).
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Water Footprint: An indicator of freshwater use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business. Water use is measured in terms of water volumes consumed (evaporated or incorporated into a product) and/or polluted per unit of time. A water footprint can be calculated for a particular product, for any well-defined group of consumers (for example, an individual, family, village, city, province, state or nation) or producers (for example, a public organization, private enterprise or economic sector).
Source: Water Footprint Network

Water Quality: The state when the physical, chemical and biological properties of water, including whether water quality at the site and within the catchment(s) meets local (and, where applicable, international) regulatory requirements and is fit for the requirements of the range of biotic species present and for any human need or purpose.
Source: Alliance for Water StewardshipStandard

Water Risk: The effect of water-related uncertainty on an organization’s objectives. It is important to note that water risk is felt differently by every sector of society and the organizations within them and thus is defined and interpreted differently (even when they experience the same degree of water scarcity or water stress). That notwithstanding, many water-related conditions, such as water scarcity, pollution, poor governance, inadequate infrastructure and extreme weather events create risk for many different sectors and organizations simultaneously. “Water risk for businesses” typically refers to the ways in which water-related issues potentially undermine business viability. It is commonly categorized into three interrelated types:

  • Physical: Having too little water, too much water, water that is unfit for use or inaccessible water.
  • Regulatory: Changing, ineffective or poorly implemented public water policy and/or regulations.
  • Reputational: Stakeholder perceptions that a company does not conduct business in a sustainable or responsible fashion with respect to water.

Source: Alliance for Water StewardshipStandard

Water Scarcity: The volumetric abundance, or lack thereof, of freshwater resources. ”Scarcity” is human-driven; it is a function of the volume of human water consumption relative to the volume of water resources in a given area.
Source: CEO Water Mandate

Water Stewardship: The use of fresh water that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site- and catchment-based actions.
Source: Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Water Stress: The ability, or lack thereof, to meet human and ecological demand for fresh water. Compared to scarcity, “water stress” is a more inclusive and broader concept.
Source: CEO Water Mandate

Watershed: See “River basin.”