Access to water and sanitation are basic human rights and are critical sustainable development challenges. These challenges will only worsen and the impacts on people will only increase as competing demands for clean fresh water (agriculture, households, energy generation, industrial use, ecosystems) are exacerbated by the effects of climate change putting more pressure on water quality and availability. These conditions will create increasing risk for businesses, governments, communities and the environment.

Business can contribute to the alleviation of these water challenges by adopting a water stewardship strategy that addresses the economic, environment, and social dimensions of water. By adopting stewardship, companies are able to make a positive contribution to improved water and sanitation management and governance that addresses their risks while contributing to sustainable development. This means adopting values and practices that aim to safeguard long-term availability of clean water and the provision of sanitation for all stakeholders in a watershed.