Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


Safe and affordable drinking water

By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.


End open defecation and provide access to sanitation and hygiene

By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.


Improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse

By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.


Increase water-use efficiency and ensure freshwater supplies

By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.


Implement integrated water resources management

By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.


Protect and restore water-related ecosystems

By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.


Expand water and sanitation support to developing countries

By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies.


Support local engagement in water and sanitation management

Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.

1 in 3 people globally don’t have access to safe drinking water.

Current Situation

Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people worldwide. Although 2.1 billion people have obtained access to improved water sanitation since 1990, drinking water supplies are dwindling across the globe.

Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.

By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will suffer recurring water shortages. Safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires investment in adequate infrastructure, provision of sanitation facilities, and the protection and restoration of essential water-related ecosystems.

40 %

of people worldwide are affected by water scarcity

673 Mio

people still practice open defecation

Impact Opportunity

Access and availability to clean water is paramount to the reduction and prevention of many illnesses and diseases. The United Nations has appointed new SDG advocates who are influential public leaders dedicated to raise awareness and advocate for all SDGs. 

The United Nation Trust Fund has paired with Restless Development Nepal to educate communities in and around Nepal, where young women are often mistreated during menstruation and lack access to sanitation facilities.

The UN also works with Kenya’s Drought Management Authority to provide resources, education, and interventions for women and children during times of drought. Green Cross International works with the World Health Organization to provide different drinking water projects that enable sustainable, community-owned infrastructure.

Access and availability to clean water is paramount to the reduction and prevention of many illnesses and diseases.


what we do

Research Paper

A data driven search for functional bacteria in aquatic systems

By Peter Rubbens, Marian Schmidt, Ruben Props, Nico Boon, Vincent Denef and Willem Waegeman

Microbial communities can be characterized by flow cytometry (FCM), a single-cell technology which measures thousands of individual cells in seconds of time. By measuring FCM in aquatic environments in parallel with 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, one can try to associate individual bacteria with one of the two ecological functional groups.

We propose to address this problem from a machine learning based variable selection perspective. Results confirm a strong correspondence between 16S rRNA gene sequencing and flow cytometry cell measurements.

blured night picture of city skyscrapers Settlement

Research Paper

Smart water management for cities

By Klemen Kenda, Stamatia Rizou, Nikos Mellios, Dimitris Kofinas, Panagiotis D. Ritsos, Matej Senožetnik and Chrysi Laspidou

This paper presents a full-stack data-mining infrastructure for smart water management for cities being developed within Water4Cities project. The stack is tested in two use cases – Greek island of Skiathos and Slovenian capital Ljubljana, each facing its own challenges related to groundwater.

Data-driven approach to groundwater levels analysis, which is important for decision support in flood and groundwater management, has shown promising results and could replace or complement traditional process-driven models. Data visualization capabilities of the platform expose powerful synergies with data mining and contribute significantly to the design of future decision support systems in water management for cities.


Shared Datasets

wide view of blue ocean cost vilage with mountains in the background Water Quality Environmental

Trophic State (Water Quality)

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) works with partners to support the global monitoring of freshwater ecosystems, as reported through the Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer, which provides up-to-date geospatial data on changes to their extent and water quality.

Melting icebergs Water Anomalies Climate Watch Water Anomalies

Water Anomalies

The ISciences Water Security Indicator Model v2 (WSIMv2) describes places where water availability during the most recent 12-month period is more or less than would be expected based on a 1950-2009 baseline period.

The Council for Good, overview photo of ocean coast AI Water Stress

Water Stress

The Falkenmark Water Stress Index is a widely used metric to characterize water stress based on annual renewable water supply per capita.

Ongoing Research

washing hands water action

Water Action Decade

Recognizing the growing challenge of water scarcity with freshwater resources estimated to fall by 40%, the UN General Assembly launched the Water Action Decade on 22 March 2018, to mobilize action that will help transform how we manage water.


Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal Partners

Logo powerd by


PwrdBy is a mobile native startup that creates innovative solutions for nonprofit organizations. PwrdBy partners with leading nonprofits to innovate on mobile-first solutions that drive impact.

Logo water Foundry

Water Foundry

Water Foundry is committed to solving water scarcity and water quality challenges within our lifetime through innovation in business strategy, technology, partnerships, business models and funding/financing.

Logo Water Action Decade

Water Action Decade

Water Action Decade works to accelerate the global community’s efforts towards meeting water-related challenges such as limited access to safe water and sanitation, heightened flood and drought risks and increasing pressure on water resources and ecosystems.

Logo Pure Water For the world

Pure Water for the World

Focusing on communities in Central America and the Caribbean, Pure Water for the World provides children and families with the tools and education to develop sustainable water, hygiene, and sanitation solutions.

We’re applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to measure and accelerate progress on the United Nations SDGs. » Learn more

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Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation