Water stewardship initiatives (WSIs) are defined as coordinated engagements among interested parties (most often including businesses) to address specific shared water challenges. While they can be very instrumental in achieving water security, WSIs can also go awry, not delivering any benefits, benefiting only certain participants, or even undermining established policy goals.
Integrity is the quality of WSIs when they include the right people, aim at the right outcomes, properly balance an array of stakeholders needs and perspectives, and establish an effective and equitable process. Ensuring integrity makes WSIs more impactful, sustainable, and cost-effective and reduces reputational risks to their participants.
This guide offers practical insight into how WSIs can manage integrity over the lifespan of their endeavors. This web-based version is an abbreviated version of a full report, which you can download here.
What is integrity in WSI'S?
Understanding and properly managing integrity risks is essential to the long-term effectiveness and impact of WSIs in addressing shared water challenges. Without it, efforts will often suffer from being ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable, perhaps leading to outcomes worse than the status quo.
WSIs with integrity typically have:
- 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
What integrity risks do WSI's face?
Fieldwork undertaken for this project has identified the range of integrity risks facing WSIs through analysis of 18 historical, ongoing, and emerging WSIs and 50 interviews with diverse stakeholders involved in them. The graphic below maps these risks by category, likelihood, and severity.
The Water Stewardship Integrity Framework
This project developed a framework by which organizations can implement and advance integrity in their WSIs. The framework includes seven principles across the four phases of every WSI. Click on either the phases (horizontal) or principles (vertical) to connect to relevant tools and activities.