Water and sanitation

Water and sanitation are pivotal elements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), primarily encapsulated in SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). This goal seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. This objective directly addresses the current global water crisis, where nearly 2.2 billion people live without access to safe water, and about 4.2 billion lack access to adequate sanitation.

By focusing on improving water quality, increasing water-use efficiency, implementing integrated water resources management at all levels, and protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems, SDG 6 addresses not only direct human needs but also the broader ecological health of the planet. Furthermore, efforts towards achieving SDG 6 indirectly promote several other SDGs.

For instance, water and sanitation are crucial to achieving SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), as clean water and proper sanitation facilities reduce the spread of water-borne diseases and significantly lower child and maternal mortality rates. Likewise, they are foundational to SDG 4 (Quality Education), given that the provision of water and sanitation facilities in schools significantly impacts the attendance and performance of students, particularly for girls.

SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) also intersects with water and sanitation, as sustainable and efficient water management is critical for agriculture, which remains the largest global water consumer. The necessity of water for food production and the potential impact of improved water management on crop yields and livestock health makes SDG 6 integral to achieving zero hunger.

SDG 6 contributes to SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) as well. Access to clean water and sanitation can enhance economic productivity by reducing time spent gathering water, reducing healthcare costs due to water-related diseases, and even creating jobs in water and sanitation services sectors.

In terms of environmental impact, the sustainable management of water resources is essential for SDG 13 (Climate Action), as water is a key factor in managing climate change due to its role in agriculture and energy production.


Daniel A. Vallero, Trevor M. Letcher,
Chapter 7 - Leaks,
Editor(s): Daniel A. Vallero, Trevor M. Letcher,
Unraveling Environmental Disasters (Second Edition),
Pages 171-205

This chapter aligns with SDGs 3 and 6 by distinguishing hydrogeological plumes from atmospheric plumes in this chapter by referring to them as leaks, considering environmental or potential disasters from the perspective of groundwater contamination.
The research highlights the health rights of indigenous adolescent girls in Bangladesh by examining the challenges they face in maintaining proper menstrual hygiene due to seasonal water scarcity, underscoring the need for targeted interventions to support their right to healthful living conditions. [indigenous population]

Hygiene and Environmental Health Advances, Volume 7, September 2023

This interview-based study investigated the perceptions of safety and acceptability of the water supply in rural Greenlandic households.
The authors explore the impacts of the virtual water trade (i.e. water used in the production of agricultural products). The authors find that increasing trade of agricultural products could lead to significant water savings.
The authors introduce a new method for wastewater management. OCTOPUS merges individual treatment plants into one, leading to significant cost savings.

The Lancet Global Health, Volume 11, September 2023

This Comment article supports SDG 3, 6, and 16 by referencing the damage to crucial water and sanitation infrastructure due to the armed conflict in Sudan, thus increasing the likelihood of diarrhoeal disease.
This Comment article supports SDG 3, 6, and 16 by highlighting the structural and commercial determinants of water crises and their effects on health, and calls for international cooperation and solidarity to address power asymmetry, inequalities, and unaffordable access to water, putting human rights at the core of the water agenda.
This Health Policy paper supports SDGs 3, 15, and 17, among others, by exploring the potential values and risks of establishing an Intergovernmental Panel for One Health (IPOH), with the aim of contributing to addressing other global challenges, such as food and water safety and environmental degradation in the context of One Health.

Manzoor Qadir, Christopher A. Scott, Trade-offs of wastewater irrigation, Editor(s): Michael J. Goss, Margaret Oliver, Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment (Second Edition), Academic Press, 2023, Pages 277-287, ISBN 9780323951333, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-822974-3.00018-5.

This chapter aligns with Goal 11 and 6 by analysing the use of wastewater for irrigation, balancing positive outcomes and trade-offs. There is a large variation between developed and developing countries as well as among countries within different economic groups regarding safe management of wastewater.
This study supports SDGs 3 and 6 by showing that areas with better access to drinking water and sanitation had a lower abundance of antibiotic resistance genes, suggesting that increasing access to water and sanitation could effectively reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance in low-income and middle-income countries