Fresh Approach to Water Stewardship

Published: Jul 04, 2019

Water is essential for life. That’s why Nutrien invested in the Agricultural Water Futures (AWF) project, which explores water stewardship in the agricultural supply chain.

AWF uses a proactive and collaborative approach to determine how stakeholders in a watershed can build business cases for water stewardship. These cases work to address water risks and shares in the value along the agri-food supply chain.

In February 2019, the first phase of the project wrapped up with the creation of a water stewardship definition and framework. This framework is specific for agricultural supply chains that aligns to a globally accepted Alliance for Water Stewardship standard. 

Agriculture uses 70 percent of freshwater withdrawals globally. As there is an increase in pressure on agriculture for its high share of water use, water stewardship – which considers water governance, balance, quality and important water-related areas – is becoming increasingly important. It requires an understanding of how each stakeholder fits into the watershed, and is achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves both site-and watershed-based actions.

Since 2017, Nutrien has provided $75,000 to the project. A pilot project was conducted in Canada within the South Saskatchewan River Basin and was designed to be scalable for any agricultural watershed. It brought together the full agri-food supply chain and involved the participation of 30 diverse organizations that are active stakeholders of this river basin.

The outcome of the work was a context-specific water stewardship model. The next steps include implementing water stewardship projects with partners.

The AWF project is fostering conversations in a real-world, water-limited environment with people who have a shared concern for fair and equitable processes for water stewardship. The project was co-funded by Nutrien and Alberta Innovates, and was executed by WaterSMART Solutions Ltd.

Contact [email protected] to learn more. We are excited to work with like-minded partners and welcome others to join us.

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