SDG 6 aims to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’

Clean drinking water and decent sanitation are essential for people’s health and well being, but a large percentage of the global population still lacks access to these basic necessities. Water is also important for producing food, sustaining cities and generating electricity, not to mention its role in ecosystems. 

Climate change, contamination and irresponsible use are causing water scarcity. The way things are going, 1.6 billion people will be without regular access to safe and clean drinking water by 2030. The following targets indicate what needs to change to avoid this.


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

6.2 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

6.3 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

6.4 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

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

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

6.A 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

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