Clean Water and Sanitation UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation recognizes that access to clean water and sanitation can materially improve the living conditions of even the world’s poorest citizens while preventing millions of unnecessary deaths annually. A lack of access to clean water affects people’s lives in myriad ways including their access to nutritious foods, levels of health, and ultimately, their financial well-being. SDG 6 is further refined by targets that can be more readily translated into actions. These targets highlight the interconnected nature of the goals: For example, strategies to support Clean Water and Sanitation also promote progress toward SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). Below are a series of synergies that can come from providing access to products, services and systems that address Clean Water and Sanitation.

Invest in Access to Clean Water, Including Sanitation & Hygiene

Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, health, housing, and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. At the current time, more than 2 billion people are living with the risk of reduced access to freshwater resources and, by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. Drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition.1 Fortunately, there has been great progress made in the past decade regarding drinking sources and sanitation, whereby over 90% of the world’s population now has access to improved sources of drinking water. However, as the negative effects of climate change grow, previously available water sources are becoming scarcer, jeopardizing some of the improvements that have been felt by communities around the world. Women and girls are disproportionately experiencing the impacts from limited water supplies, as they are responsible for water collection in 80% of households without access to water on premises.

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Invest in Access to Adequate Housing and Living Conditions

Approximately 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets.2 In 2015, 892 million people practiced open defecation, and only 27% of the population in less developed countries had basic handwashing facilities.3 Even in densely populated urban areas with run-down housing and high rates of poverty, water piped directly to households and piped sewage systems have been shown to result in significant improvements in the quality of living conditions.4

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SDG 6: References