The Water Futures Partnership recognizes that it takes time to develop working relationships and build trust, both between the partners and with external stakeholders. Based on our experience, we have developed a charter that expresses the shared principles of the partners.
It is these principles that have informed and will continue to underpin this initiative:
- Affordable and sustainable water supply and sanitation should be a priority for all. Water is essential for health, education, livelihoods, businesses and ecosystems. It is a fundamental building block for the prosperity of a country. We believe that while there are many competing demands for water, priority should always be given to basic human needs.
- Water resources should be managed to ensure the health of critical ecosystems. Water supply to cities and agriculture relies heavily on healthy ecosystem services, especially the continued flow of water through rivers, lakes and aquifers. We believe that it is critical to understand the water needs of these services and allocate water to maintain the health of ecosystems as a priority.
- Water is the life-blood of local and national economic development. Water is a critical resource for public and private enterprises to thrive, which in turn fuels foreign investment, job creation, tax revenues, improved living standards and broader economic growth. We believe that water must be appropriately valued, and that the value created by economic activities should be considered in its allocation.
- Water is a shared resource and creates a shared responsibility. Inadequate water / wastewater infrastructure or poorly managed land and water resources creates risks that are shared by communities, ecosystems and businesses. The state of our water supply depends heavily on how individuals use land and water, and how resources are managed by the public sector. While it is ultimately the government’s role to regulate land and water use, we believe that everyone, including businesses, has an obligation to use water responsibly and support the public sector in managing water.
- Water governance can be significantly improved when there is constructive and transparent dialogue between water users and managers. It is crucial that water users and stakeholders play a part in the governance of water resources in order for the overall management to be effective and allocation equitable. We believe in an open and effective dialogue, and that one of the main purposes of our work should be to assist in facilitating this dialogue.
- Awareness and understanding of the importance of water and how to manage it well are critical. We believe in a risk-based approach to understanding water challenges, motivating stakeholders and prioritising action. We are committed to raising awareness of water risk and sustainability issues with businesses, the public sector and the general public. Knowledge sharing relating to good practice in water and land management should be encouraged.
- Transparency in decision making, financing and execution supports trust amongst stakeholders. While recognising and upholding commercial sensitivities that are fundamental to all businesses, we are committed to open dialogue and transparent, participatory decision making.
- Collective action is important for sustainable water use and management. We believe that it is only through broad based collaboration with local stakeholders, that pathways to sustainable water security can be found. As such, the partnership is open to like-minded stakeholders, who share our principles, to join in working towards sustainable solutions. We also believe in pre-competitive collaboration and therefore accept that competing companies/organisations be allowed to join the global and local partnerships.
- Sharing information and lessons enables an effective partnership and strengthens water stewardship approaches. We believe in the power of knowledge transfer and ideas sharing. While recognising that water realities are very specific to each watershed, we also recognise that approaches used in one part of the world might be usefully adapted to other locations. Therefore, a culture of pro-active knowledge management is vital. In addition, we believe in using our practical experiences to help inform other partnerships, global water stewardship policy dialogues and other initiatives.