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SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation


SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all.


  • Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the global population and is projected to rise.

  • 3 in 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, and 6 in 10 people lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities.

  • More than 80% of waste water resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal.

  • Diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children worldwide. Each day nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.

  • Floods and other water-related disasters account for 70% of all deaths related to natural disasters.

  • Our world is called the blue planet for a reason. Our oceans, rivers, lakes, snow and ice make up 71% of the Earth’s surface area. 97% of this water is found in our oceans and is salt water. Much of the 3% fresh water we have is polluted beyond human use.

  • Every day, women and girls spend 200 million hours walking to collect water for their families – water that is often contaminated with life threatening diseases. That's 8.3 million days. More than 22.800 years.

  • For this challenge, we invite you to engage with a video created by An Fóram Uisce | The Water Forum – a story of how water is used in the home along with suggestions for the small steps that can be taken to reduce our individual impact on very precious water resources. Step 1: Watch and enjoy the video. Step 2: Pick one (or more) of the actions mentioned in the video and try to implement them. Step 3: Share what you did and how you got on, on social media and with people around you – and of course also share if you have additional ideas or experience how water can be protected in our everyday life! For sharing, make sure to use #WaterMatters #SDG6 #CleanWater @AnForamUisce*

  • Calculate your water footprint. How could you reduce it?

  • In 1992, the 22nd of March was declared World Day of Water. It has been held every March since 1993, focusing on the importance of freshwater, celebrating water, and raising awareness of those living without access to safe water. Various initiatives and events take place on World Water Day, with the aim to encourage the public to take action to tackle the global water crisis, and to support achievements on SDG6. Find out more* and join the celebration!

  • Did you know that meat, dairy and eggs require more water to “produce” than other food out there? Read more here.* Try to change one thing in your diet to reduce your water footprint.

More inspiration:

  • To read

  1. Blue Life – organization from Mantanani island, Malaysia which acts against ocean pollution.

  2. Oasis Boliviano – the story of Trevor, who fights for the right of indigenous people from small villages in Bolivia to keep the access to clean water from the river they depend upon.

  • To watch

  1. Check out The Story of Bottled Water. If you like it, follow with The Story of Cosmetics to discover what's inside the products most of us use for hygiene.

  2. Ross George, ‘Let’s talk crap. Seriously’ - this TED Talk allows us to talk ‘dirty’ and debunk the issues around sanitation.*

  3. Documentaries relating to water issues.

For more info about other SDGs, have a look here.

* These information and calls to action come from the fantastic Development Perspectives material about SDGs. Have a look here to discover more.

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