Water Risk & Action Framework


Cross-sector “water stewardship” approaches are emerging around the world seeking to address shared water risks through collective action in response to increasing demand and threats to water supply and quality. Water stewardship is based on the premise that all water users play a role in the sustainable use and management of water resources, as business, government, or civil society cannot effectively address complex and shared water risks alone. To help address these challenges, the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) has developed the Water Risk and Action Framework (WRAF).

The WRAF was first developed by IWaSP in 2013 and has since been updated with international best practices and lessons learnt from projects implemented at the community level.  It guides practitioners in forming and executing water stewardship partnerships. The proven five-phase process increases the quality of partnerships that deliver accelerated and sustainable results to achieve water security for businesses, communities, and government.

The Five Phases

The Water Risk and Action Framework


  • Identify stakeholders and markets
  • Share problems and recognise interests
  • Prepare road map


  • Assess risks and opportunities
  • Determine costs and benefits
  • Shape partnership


  • Develop business cases
  • Develop modes of delivery
  • Secure commitment of actors


  • Empower and advise actors
  • Coordinate and manage implementation
  • Monitor progress

Scale and Exit

  • Evaluate impact and lessons
  • Leverage impact at scale
  • Phase out

Tools & Case Studies

Within the five-phase process, the WRAF provides a set of tools for flexible application, as partnerships and their development differ case by case. These tools address various themes, such as building relationships, assessing water risks and options for water risk mitigation measures, and making the business case for water stewardship.Each of the WRAF’S five Phases has three elements and each of those have several key points to guide practitioners’ activities in the design and implementation of water stewardship projects. This guidance is neither linear nor absolute, as elements of some Phases may occur simultaneously, while other Phases may have to be revisited. Being aware of and selectively following this process will increase the probability of favorable outcomes in water security and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  The WRAF has already been applied successfully in more than 10 partnerships.

Using the Collective Leadership Compass to complement the WRAF

The Collective Leadership Compass is a tool for supporting individuals, teams, and organizations to build vibrant and robust “collaboration ecosystems” in change processes. It has the potential to enliven the WRAF process and help identify collaboration challenges. The Compass helps individuals rediscover and invigorate their human competencies for collective leadership, reveals patterns of skills and helps teams enliven their collaboration ecosystems by recognizing when specific capabilities are called for, require building, or are out of balance.

The Compass recognizes that every context is unique and different Aspects may come into focus at different moments in every process. The Compass is designed to assist process competence throughout your initiative.

The Compass’ six dimensions of human competencies are:

  1. Future Possibilities
  2. Engagement
  3. Innovation
  4. Humanity
  5. Collective Intelligence
  6. Wholeness

Each dimension is further deepened through three Aspects.

Throughout the WRAF Web tool, you will find references to the Compass that highlight the human competencies that are particularly relevant in each WRAF Phase. Learn more here.

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