Search suggestions

Image of a large-scale vegetable farm during irrigation

Add-on to core solution

Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use

The Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use (SPRING) is an add-on that addresses responsible water management at farm level. It is designed to be paired with the Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard for plants or the Crops for Processing (CfP) standard.

Demonstrating commitment to sustainable water management

What is SPRING?

The Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use (SPRING) add-on helps producers, supply chain stakeholders, and buyers to demonstrate their commitment to more responsible on-farm water stewardship. The robust and comprehensive checklist covers a wide range of topics such as water use and extraction rates, legal compliance and protection of water sources, and watershed management. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) for fruit and vegetables plus the SPRING add-on is benchmarked to the Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables’ (SIFAV) Basket of Water Standards, and SPRING v2 is recognized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Spain as among the top farm-level water certification options. The add-on is tried, tested, and trusted in over 25 countries worldwide.

Infographic of a world map showing countries with SPRING implementation

SPRING at a glance

Document 1, Document, checklist, add-on
Audited in combination

with the IFA standard or CfP standard to minimize the audit burden

Water 1, Water, SPRING, conservation, resource use, efficiency, sustainability
Supports legal compliance

with criteria on land use, flow rates, watershed stakeholders, and water source identification

Water 2, Water, SPRING, conservation, resource use, efficiency, irrigation
Applicable for farms

with or without irrigation, and in regions with or without water scarcity issues

Farm 2, Farm, producer agriculture, plants, crops
Offers a cost-effective audit

for a wide range of farm sizes and types, including smallholders and producer groups

Globe 3, Globe, worldwide, network, implementation
Implemented worldwide

with a global network of approved CBs and auditors trained on local water use legislation

Benchmarking 1, Benchmarking, harmonization, alignment, basket of standards
Recognized by WWF Spain

and benchmarked to the SIFAV Basket of Water Standards for good water management

Which topics does the SPRING add-on address?

The SPRING add-on was developed through extensive collaboration between value chain stakeholders, NGOs, and GLOBALG.A.P. technical experts. Our approach to standard setting ensures that GLOBALG.A.P. smart farm assurance solutions remain robust, realistic, and cost-efficient, while meeting the evolving demands of buyer

Core topics in SPRING v2 are divided into four sections, including: 

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

Discover how the SPRING add-on helps you to address challenges in the agricultural sector .

Image of a producer growing lettuce

Who should use SPRING?

SPRING is applicable to a wide variety of farm types. Even for producers who do not irrigate crops, it is a valuable tool for demonstrating the responsible management of water risks (such as the protection of nearby water sources).

The add-on offers affordable audit options for both individual producers and multisite producer groups, including smallholders, and farms can get certified in any country where a GLOBALG.A.P. approved certification body (CB) conducts audits.

SPRING must be combined with certification to IFA for plants (fruit and vegetables, flowers and ornamentals, hops, or combinable crops) or CfP. Please note that producers with parallel ownership are only permitted to implement SPRING under group certification (option 2).

How does SPRING work?

  • Compliance with the add-on requirements is audited annually by an accredited and independent third-party CB in combination with the IFA/CfP audit (or an audit to a benchmarked scheme/checklist ).

  • Producers have the freedom to choose which CB they use (although it must be the same CB conducting both audits).

  • A successful audit results in a letter of conformance valid for one year.

  • The relevant national interpretation guidelines (NIGs) are required from January 2025.

Standard content is formed of principles and criteria (P&Cs). Criteria are graded in three levels: Major Must, Minor Must, and Recommendations.


  • Fundamentals that set the foundation of a GLOBALG.A.P. requirement

  • Written in statement form

  • Describe the outcome to achieve in the corresponding criteria


  • Methods that producers can use to demonstrate a principle to be true

  • Compliance can be demonstrated in different ways, e.g., data, record of procedure, etc.

  • Evidence must demonstrate that the outcome is achieved

Read more about the audit process and compliance requirements .

Infographic showing the principles and criteria of the Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use version 2

How is conformance status verified?

Every producer registered in the GLOBALG.A.P. certification system is assigned a 13-digit GLOBALG.A.P. identification number (e.g., a GLOBALG.A.P. Number (GGN)). This number allows real-time verification of conformance status in the GLOBALG.A.P. IT systems , upholding our rigorous transparency requirements throughout the supply chain.

Producers can control data access and privacy rights for audit reports, and the reports are not shared publicly or with third parties. This process is handled via your chosen CB.

Latest news

Successful TOUR stop in Brazil

29 November 2023

GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat and Paripassu hold successful TOUR stop in Brazil

October’s two-day TOUR stop Brazil saw 250 agriculture sector producers, retailers, and service providers in attendance to discuss their experiences with GLOBALG.A.P. standards.

Fruit and vegetables
Food safety
Environmental sustainability
Capacity building
Image of a producer recording plant metrics in a field

29 November 2023

New environmental sustainability solution goes through first round of public consultation

The GLOBALG.A.P. Secretariat held the first round of public consultation on the new environmental sustainability solution, marking a crucial step in the development of the upcoming solution through stakeholder collaboration.

Fruit and vegetables
Flowers and ornamentals
Environmental sustainability