ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ISO's Work on Water Services Presented at World Water Forum

ISO press release

New York, Mar 22, 2006

The suite of future ISO standards for the assessment of water and wastewater services was featured in the programme of side events to the World Water Forum, closing today in Mexico City, Mexico. Today, 22 March, is also UN World Water Day 2006, of which this year’s theme is "Water and Culture".

Expected to be issued in 2007, the suite of ISO standards (ISO 24510, ISO 24511 and ISO 24512) is being developed to serve as a tool to assess organizations involved in the provision of water services (water supply and wastewater utilities). Designed for maximum flexibility, the standards are applicable in industrialized as well as in developing countries, in big cities or small towns, irrespective of whether the responsible body or utility operator is private or public.

The implementation of the standards will help water authorities and their operators to achieve a level of quality that best meets the expectations of consumers and the principles of sustainable development.

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: "Water is a worldwide challenge for the 21st century and many countries are still not on track to reach the water-related targets of the Millennium Development Goals. ISO is providing internationally-recognized guidance documents for improving governance, quality and efficiency of water services.

"Without sustainable water management to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of clean, safe water, the health of ecosystems and those who depend on them will suffer. These ISO standards are a shining example of what standardization can achieve for a sustainable world."

The World Water Forum is an initiative of the World Water Council, which aims to raise awareness of water issues all over the world. As the main international event on water, it seeks to enable multi-stakeholder participation and dialogue to influence water policy-making at a global level, thus assuring better living standards for people worldwide and a more responsible social behaviour towards water issues, in line with the pursuit of sustainable development.

The future ISO standards on water services are being developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 224, which was established in 2001 following a proposal from ISO’s French member, Association française de normalisation (AFNOR). Many different stakeholders participate in its work, including representatives from national and local water authorities, public and private water operators, consumer organizations and NGOs, as well as numerous international organizations.

These ISO standards were presented in Mexico yesterday together with presentations of local projects on water and wastewater management from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. A panel of representatives from the Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (AIDIS), African Water Association, United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Health Organization, and the Argentinian standards body IRAM (Instituto Argentino de Normalización y Certificación) discussed the implementation of the ISO standards in developing countries.

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