World Water Day

Standards that protect our most precious resource. 

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Por Clare Naden
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Water is an essential ingredient in the sustainability of our planet, yet some 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe water. Valuing this crucial resource is the theme of this year’s World Water Day, and ISO has many standards that help us all do just that.

Water efficiency labelling programmes can be powerful tools to remind consumers of the value of water and influence them to choose more water-efficient products and appliances. While various schemes exist around the world, there are still many regions where they are lacking, with no internationally agreed way of setting one up.

The future ISO 31600, Water efficiency labelling programmes – Requirements with guidance for implementation, will help jurisdictions everywhere to introduce their own scheme. It will provide a set of best practices and guidance for the preparation and implementation of a water efficiency labelling programme for plumbing products and water-consuming appliances.

Richard Lambert, Manager of the ISO committee[1] responsible for the standard, said the guidance is intended to enable the development of more water efficiency labelling programmes, which, in turn, will boost the market for better products.

“It is expected that arming consumers with such knowledge will lead to greater demand for water-efficient products,” he said.

“This will then encourage manufacturers to invest more in this area, and so the virtuous circle begins.”

Complementing such programmes is ISO 46001, Water efficiency management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, which provides methods and tools for measuring water consumption and helps organizations adopt measures to optimize its usage.

Other ISO standards that help organizations conserve and preserve water include the two-part ISO 20760, Water reuse in urban areas – Guidelines for centralized water reuse system, and the ISO 16075 series for treated wastewater use in irrigation projects.

These are just a handful of the hundreds of ISO standards that contribute directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), which seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. They specifically address 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.”

  1. ISO 31600 is being developed by project committee ISO/PC 316, Water-efficient products – Rating, whose secretariat is held by Standards Australia, ISO’s member for the country.
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