Frequently Asked Questions

As used in this document, refers to those individuals and/or groups who may not be directly engaged in a WSI’s activities but who may be directly affected by the WSI’s activities and/or outcomes. See also stakeholders.

The interplay among economics, politics, and law, and how institutions develop in different social and economic systems to manage the production, distribution, and consumption of resources. It includes issues such as the distribution of power and wealth among groups and individuals, and the processes that create, sustain, and transform these relationships over time.

The welfare of the general public (in contrast to the selfish interest of a person, group, or firm) in which the whole society has a stake and which warrants protection by the government. (Adapted from As used here, the public interest benefits of WSIs are directly linked to ensuring sustainable water management (see definition below).

A two-way effort to get involved and/or involve stakeholders in activities and decision-making processes to ensure effective water governance. Engagement happens at different stages of an initiative and can take various forms depending on the degree of involvement of stakeholders. (Source: OECD Stakeholder Engagement for Effective Water Governance, Technical Note.)

The management of water resources that holistically addresses equity, economy, and the environment in a way that maintains the supply and quality of water for a variety of needs over the long term and ensures meaningful participation by all affected stakeholders.

Water-related issues that are of interest or concern to an organization, a site, or stakeholders in a particular river, basin, or region, and which, if addressed, will provide positive impacts or prevent negative impacts. (Adapted from The AWS International Water Stewardship Standard, Version 1.0.)

Formal and informal processes that allow for the determination and negotiation of objectives, setting of standards, and resolution of disputes among disparate voices in order to address challenges and meet objectives at local, subnational, and national levels in the management of water resources and delivery of water services. (From and OECD Stakeholder Engagement for Effective Water Governance.) Water governance is defined by the political, social, economic, and administrative systems that are in place, and that directly or indirectly affect the use, development, and management of water resources and the delivery of water service at different levels of society. Governance is “good” when the actions (and inactions) of all parties are transparent and accountable so that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities and the most vulnerable are heard in decision making, and the needs of the present and the future are taken into account. (From WIN, About Water Integrity, 2014.)

IWaSP has the following working definition on water security, based on UN Water's definition. Water security is the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water risks, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability. For more information, please see the definition of water security provided by UN Water.

The use of water in a way that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site- and basin-based actions. Water stewardship involves organizations taking shared responsibility to pursue meaningful individual and collective actions that benefit people and nature. (Adapted from Alliance for Water Stewardship: What Is Water Stewardship?, 2010.)

An IWaSP partnership is a coordinated engagement among parties affected by water risks. IWaSP's endeavour is to include voices of public, private and civil society sectors to address specific shared water challenges; an IWaSP partnership typically involves structured collective action, joint decision making, and joint implementation.