World Water Day 2009 - ISO Standards support objectives

The International Organization for Standardization's (ISO's) portfolio of more than 18,000 international Standards includes at least 430 Standards, which directly or indirectly support the objectives of this year's World Water Day, which was held on 22 March 2009.

The observance of World Water Day is a United Nations initiative. This year, it highlighted the challenges raised by the world's 263 trans-boundary lake and river basins which include the territory of 145 countries and cover nearly half the Earth's land surface. ISO too is of global dimension, comprising a network of the national Standards institutes of 159 countries, representing 97% of the world's population.

The theme of World Water Day 2009 was 'Transboundary waters: shared waters, shared opportunities'. International Standards developed by ISO can contribute to the objectives of World Water Day 2009, which builds on the idea that 'nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in transboundary water management can help build mutual respect, understanding, and trust among countries, and promote peace, security, and sustainable economic growth'.

ISO's Standards provide practical tools for developing 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. The three ISO technical committees (TC) principally concerned are:

  • ISO/TC 147, Water quality
  • ISO/TC 224, Service activities relating to drinking water supply systems and wastewater systems – Quality criteria of the service and performance indicators
  • ISO/TC 113, Hydrometry.

As well as the international Standards developed by these three committees, in 2008 ISO published the International Workshop Agreement, IWA 6:2008, Guidelines for the management of drinking water utilities under crisis conditions. With the security of drinking water a major concern worldwide, these guidelines are particularly opportune.

In addition, ISO develops other water-related Standards including for irrigation (ISO/TC 23/SC 18 - 31 Standards) and plastics piping systems (ISO/TC 138/SC 2 - 78 Standards).

To purchase ISO water Standards, visit the Standards New Zealand website www.standards.co.nz, click 'ISO' and enter keyword 'water quality', or 'drinking water', or 'IWA 6'; email enquiries@standards.co.nz; or call 0800 782 632.

Published in environment.