Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

To ensure access to safe water sources and sanitation for all

filled cup with raindrop symbol in middle on blue square
Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a human right. The demand for water has outpaced population growth, and half the world’s population is already experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month a year.

Water is essential not only to health, but also to poverty reduction, food security, peace and human rights, ecosystems and education. Nevertheless, countries face growing challenges linked to water scarcity, water pollution, degraded water- related ecosystems and cooperation over transboundary water basins.

In 2017, an estimated 3 billion people worldwide lacked the ability to safely wash their hands at home – one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases like the coronavirus.

Water, sanitation and hygiene services are also not always available at medical care facilities: in 2016, one in four facilities around the world lacked basic water supplies, one in five had no sanitation services, and two in five had no soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, at points of care.

And today, 4.2 billion people are still faced with daily challenges accessing even the most basic of services. Of these, 673 million people practiced open defecation.

By managing our water sustainably, we are also able to better manage our production of food and energy and contribute to decent work and economic growth. Moreover, we can preserve our water ecosystems, their biodiversity, and take action on climate change.

(Information pulled from CLEAN WATER & SANITATION: WHY IT MATTERS)

Clean water and sanitation infographic