Canadian Water and Wastewater Association eBulletin

New International Standard for water efficiency just published

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While some parts of the world are "flush" with freshwater, others face serious drought. What’s more, only a fraction of the world’s freshwater is available for us to use and drink, as the rest is in the sea or frozen in glaciers. As the world’s population continues to put pressure on this limited supply, being more efficient with what we have is our only solution. A new International Standard has just been published to help.

The recently published ISO 46001, Water efficiency management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, aims to help organizations of all sizes and status be more water-efficient.

Through a clear framework and guidance on water efficiency management, ISO 46001 provides methods and tools for assessing and accounting for water usage, as well as ways to identify and implement measures to optimize water use. In this way, users of the standard will contribute directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), which seeks to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. It specifically addresses Target 6.4: "By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.”

ISO 46001 was inspired by work done to develop a national standard in Singapore, one of the first of its kind in the world to help organizations benefit from the use of a water efficiency management system.

CWWA and our water efficiency committee are writing to both Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada to raise awareness of this standard and support the development of a certification process through the Canada Standards Association.

ISO 46001 was developed by working group WG 12, Water efficiency management, of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 224, Service activities relating to drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems, the secretariat of which is held by AFNOR, ISO’s member for France. It is available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.