Water matters: Standard solutions get top billing in ISO Focus+ magazine

How does the leading global operator in water services ensure quality to over 100 million people worldwide? By applying International Standards.

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By Elizabeth Gasiorowski Denis
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In an exclusive interviewin the July/August 2013 ISO Focus+, Jean-Michel Herrewyn, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Water, explains the use of International Standards in the company's day-to-day operations. As he says: "Far from being a constraint, the standards we use for our organizational structure are considered an asset and a pledge of reliability, professionalism and credibility to our clients and shareholders."

Water is arguably our most precious commodity and key to our survival. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks 2013, experts rate water supply crisis as one of the world's greatest risks. In terms of likelihood, water availability (or lack thereof) is ranked fourth highest risk to global security and in terms of impact it is rated as the second highest.

The issue of water is so crucial that the United Nations declared 2013 as the "International Year of Water Cooperation". The UN says its objective "is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services."

Half-way into the "International Year on Water Cooperation", the July/August 2013 ISO Focus+ outlines ISO's water solutions for good business practice, management of resources, risk assessment, metrics and infrastructure. It also looks at how ISO water standards can facilitate sustainable water management and increase water potential, helping to alleviate water scarcity and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

ISO's portfolio of more than 19 500 International Standards includes at least 500 which directly or indirectly support the objectives of this year's International Year on Water Cooperation. Our standards provide practical tools for developing a common understanding and cooperation between countries on aspects such as water quality and measurement, and the management of water supply services, including under crisis conditions.

ISO Deputy Secretary-General Kevin McKinley, comments: "What's the bottom line? Water matters and ISO is responding with high levels of expert interest and national enthusiasm. There are many contentious details to be sorted out on the actual standards - this is the stuff of ISO's development work. But there's no disagreement that addressing global water challenges is a top priority for ISO's Strategy 2011-2015 and beyond."

Explore this issue of ISO Focus+ and discover how ISO standards help us manage our shared water resources equitably and durably.

ISO Focus+, July - August 2013

The July/August 2013 ISO Focus+ outlines ISO’s water solutions for good business practice, management of resources, risk assessment, metrics and infrastructure.

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Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

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