GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 sets out reporting requirements on the topic of water and effluents. This Standard can be used by an organization of any size, type, sector or geographic location that wants to report on its impacts related to this topic.

*Please note*

GRI 303: Water has been updated in 2018 and will replace the 2016 version. To learn more about the key features of this Standard, and how it was developed, consult the project and sign up for updates on coming events here.

An organization reporting on GRI 303 for the first time is advised to use GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018. Existing users of GRI 303: Water 2016 are advised to start the transition to GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 as soon as possible. GRI 303: Water 2016 can continue to be used for reports or other materials published on or before 31 December 2020.



In the context of the GRI Standards, the environmental dimension of sustainability concerns an organization’s impacts on living and non-living natural systems, including land, air, water and ecosystems.

GRI 303 addresses the topic of water and effluents.

Access to freshwater is essential for human life and wellbeing, and is recognized by the United Nations (UN) as a human right. The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, include key targets related to sustainable water management under Goal 6: ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’. These targets aim, for example, to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, improve water quality, and address water scarcity.

The amount of water withdrawn and consumed by an organization and the quality of its discharges, can impact the functioning of the ecosystem in numerous ways. Direct impacts on a catchment can have wider impacts on the quality of life in an area, including social and economic consequences for local communities and indigenous peoples.

Since water is a shared resource, and water-related impacts are localized, organizations are increasingly being encouraged to:

  • prioritize action in areas with water stress;
  • understand and respond to local contexts, including local social and environmental impacts;
  • aim to benefit and respect the needs and priorities of all water users in an area;
  • align their approaches and collective actions with other water users and with effective public policy.

Through a comprehensive understanding of its water use, an organization can assess the impacts it has on water resources that benefit the ecosystem, other water users, and the organization itself. An organization, particularly a water-intensive one, can use this information for effective water management.

The disclosures in this Standard are designed to help an organization better understand and communicate its significant water-related impacts, and how it manages them.

Effective date: 1 January 2021

Earlier adoption is encouraged.



GRI 303: Water and Effluents

1. Management approach disclosures

Disclosure 303-1 Interactions with water as a shared resource
Disclosure 303-2 Management of water discharge related impacts

2. Topic-specific disclosures

Disclosure 303-3 Water withdrawal
Disclosure 303-4 Water discharge
Disclosure 303-5 Water consumption

Table 1. Example template for presenting information for Disclosures 303-3, 303-4, and 303-5
Table 2. Example template for presenting facility-level information
Table 3. Example template for presenting supply chain information






The translation of GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018 into key languages will be available from Q4 2018

Please see the GRI Standards translation page for available translations of the Standards, or to find out more about the upcoming translation schedule and how to get involved.

Related Standards

This Standard is to be used together with the most recent versions of the following documents.