SPRING - Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use

New and improved SPRING version 2 is out now!

The Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use (SPRING) is an add-on from GLOBALG.A.P. that addresses responsible water management at farm level.

Designed to be paired with the Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard for plants or the Crops for Processing (CfP) standard and developed in collaboration with stakeholders from across the sector, it covers a wide range of topics such as water use and extraction rates, legal compliance and protection of water sources, and sustainable watershed management.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Spain recognizes the SPRING add-on among the top farm-level water certification options. Learn more about WWF Spain recognition here.

How it works

  • SPRING is applicable for a variety of crop farms, from individual producers (including smallholders) to producer groups and regardless of whether an irrigation system is in place or not.
  • Designed to complement existing GLOBALG.A.P. certification, SPRING compliance is audited annually by accredited and independent third-party certification bodies (CBs) in combination with the IFA or CfP audit (however the initial SPRING audit may take place independently from the IFA or CfP audit).
  • Producers can choose from any GLOBALG.A.P. approved CB active in the relevant country/region – the same CB which conducts your IFA/CfP audit must also conduct the SPRING audit.
  • To pass a CB audit, producers must comply with 100% of the Major Must principles and criteria, and at least 75% of the Minor Must principles and criteria.
  • A successful audit results in a letter of conformance valid for one year.

Core topics:

  • Assessment of water risks and objectives
  • Water risk assessment for farms and produce handling units
  • Documented overview of water stakeholders in the watershed
  • Water management plan
  • Staff training
  • Assessment of legal compliance
  • Current legal requirements and land use
  • Documentation of flow rates
  • Buildings and water infrastructure
  • Identification of water sources
  • Management and use of water resources
  • Water distribution and irrigation plan
  • Water measurement system and consumptions records
  • Sustainable governance of watershed
  • Rainwater recovery and storage
  • Environmental management: Protecting water sources
  • Wastewater management
  • Natural surface water and biodiversity protection
  • Erosion mitigation
  • Energy efficiency assessment

Versions a nd future updates

SPRING is in transition from v1.1-1 to v2. There are currently two valid versions:

  • Version 2 was published on 27 July 2023. It will become obligatory on 1 January 2024, replacing version 1.1-1. Version 2 can only be combined with IFA v6.
  • Version 1.1-1 was published in February 2020, becoming obligatory in May 2020. Audits to this version are possible until version 2 becomes obligatory – any letter of conformance achieved before this date will remain valid for its full cycle. V1.1-1 must be combined with IFA v5.2, v5.4-1-GFS or Crops for Processing.
  • The relevant national interpretation guidelines are in development for SPRING v2, with their implementation required from January 2025.