WWF Basin Stewardship Strategies | WWF

From the Amazon to the Zambezi, our stewardship basin strategies are bringing people together to address shared water risk

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WWF has leveraged our extensive local networks as well as our global expertise to develop strategies to facilitate collective action and engage communities, businesses and government to improve water management in these basins. The focus on collective action is essential to highlight our shared dependence on and responsibility for this vital resource.
WWF understands water-related risk, and brings stakeholders together to develop solutions. By design, these solutions will be locally relevant, but WWF’s global perspective will allow best practices to flow from basin to basin, continent to continent.
Our vision in each basin is sustainably and equitably managed freshwater ecosystems that meet the needs of all users. We plan to achieve this by:  
  • Raising awareness of why water management matters
  • Supporting internal company action to reduce businesses impact on freshwater 
  • Facilitating initial collective action in a sub-basin or city
  • Scaling up from local to basin-wide action

How can you join or contribute to these collective action efforts?

If you have operations, investments, supply chains or other interests in any of WWF's priority basins, we would love to hear from you! Thank you for contacting our global basin coordinator: Claire Bramley

Examples of local implementation

1 - Yangtze
  • Where: Lake Taihu basin
  • Sectors: Textiles, Agriculture, Food & Beverage Industry, Chemicals
  • Main issues: Pollution
We have been working in the Taihu basin for a number of years with partners such as H&M, HSBC and Ecolab. The work so far has included developing a methodology for water stewardship that can be applied to industrial parks as well as initiating collective action within a key sub-basin of Lake Taihu.

Our collective action dialogue involves policy makers, industrial water users, international brands, industrial associations, research institutes, local governmental departments, local NGOs, financial institutions, etc. We are now looking to expand our collective action dialogue across the whole Taihu basin with the ultimate aim of improving the Lake Taihu basin regulation, which will be revised in the coming years.
  • If you would like to get involved in our project please contact: Wenwei Ren.
3 - Ganges
  • Where: Moradabad and Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (River Ramganga and the main stem of the Ganges)
  • Sectors: Metalware, Leather (with a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises) 
  • Issues: Pollution, unsustainable water use  
In the Ganges, we are working on improving water management practices of leather SMEs in the city of Kanpur and of metalware SMEs in Moradabad. Our research on technical and financial feasibility of various clean technology options for SMEs in these regions will be used to support their adoption by SMEs to reduce pollution and improve water use efficiency. In both cities, we plan to develop collective action platforms with industry, the city administration and in other key stakeholders.  
  • Read more about water stewardship in India here.
  • If you would like to get involved in our project please contact: Sanket Bhale
4 - Indus
  • Where: Lahore, Punjab
  • Sectors: Textiles, Sugar, Pulp and Paper, Leather SMEs
  • Who: WWF, European Union, The Cleaner Production Institute (CPI), Associates of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce Industry (LCCI) and Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC)
  • Issues: Pollution and water scarcity
We are working with SMEs in Lahore on internal action, improving water efficiency and reducing pollution impacts. In parallel, we have initiated the City-wide Partnership in Lahore, located along the River Ravi. The partnership is a collective action platform aimed at solving water quality and quantity issues in the region. The partnership will be strengthened in Lahore and later expanded to other cities in the Punjab region. The initiative has so far helped industries implement better water management practices resulting in water-related energy savings that amount to 6 MW per year in 35 pilot SMEs. Energy efficiency is also contributing to the reduction of 10,000 tons of CO2 per year. Due to the success of the project WWF-Pakistan was recently awarded a National Energy Globe Award for this work. 
  • Read more about the project, including training manuals for better water management practices in each sector and a review of water footprint of key industrial sectors in Punjab here.
  • If you would like to get involved in our project please contact: Ali Hasnain Sayed.   
5 - South African Rivers
  • Where: Upper Breede River – Ceres, Western Cape
  • Sectors: Agriculture, Fruit Production
  • Who: WWF, Marks & Spencers, Woolworths, Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), GIZ, Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency
  • Issues: Pollution and water scarcity  
We have been working on water stewardship in the Breede for a number of years, originally initiated by M&S, Woolworths, WWF, AWS and a group of progressive fruit farmers. The farmers were part of a pilot to implement the AWS standard, helping to improve on-farm water management practices. The project is now growing and WWF is leading initial collective action efforts in the Upper Breede with partners and other stakeholders including BGCMA, the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency. Through collective action, we have identified a number of key opportunities to mitigate water risks, including removal of alien invasive plant species and improving sanitation and wastewater treatment in a local informal settlement. The project partners are now exploring ways to mitigate these risks.  6 - Zambezi
  • Where: Kafue Flats, Kafue River basin
  • Sectors: Agriculture, Food & Beverage
  • Issues: Pollution, over-abstraction  
In the Zambezi, we are focused on raising awareness of shared water risks through an in-depth study of the economy in the Kafue Flats and its dependency on water. The report has been used a catalyst to develop a collective action dialogue among key industry and government stakeholders about how to reduce water risks in the Kafue Flats.
  • If you are interested to get involved in our project please contact: Imakando Sinyama.   
8 - Turkish Rivers – Buyuk Menderes
  • Where: Buyuk Menderes Basin. Particularly production clusters of Denizli,  Usak and Aydin
  • Sectors: Textiles, Leather, Cotton Producers
  • Issues: Pollution and water scarcity  
WWF has been working in the Buyuk Menderes for many years on wetland habitat protection and wise use of water resources in agriculture. Our water stewardship programme will now build on and complement this work. We are engaging textiles and leather producers as well as cotton growers on best practice and will leverage this work to develop a collective action platform in the basin. This work also aims to integrate the private sector into the development of the River Basin Management Plan being developed for the Buyuk Menderes basin.
  • If you would like to get involved in our project please contact: Eren Atak
Initial focus region per WWF priority river