CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION: WHY IT MATTERS
What’s the goal here?
To ensure access to safe water sources and sanitation for all.
are still faced with daily challenges accessing even the most basic of services.
3 in 10 people lack access
to safely managed drink- Why? ing water services. About
The demand for water
has outpaced population growth, and half the world’s population is already expe- riencing severe water scar- city at least one month
a year. Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is
a human right, yet billions
3 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.
More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is dis- charged into rivers or sea without any treatment, leading to pollution.
© UN Photo / Kibae Park
What are the
effects of this?
Water and sanitation- related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five; more than 800 children die every day from diarrhoeal diseases linked to poor hygiene.
Proper water and sanitation is a key foundation for achiev- ing the Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and gender equality.
By managing our water sustainably, we are also able to better manage our production of food and energy and contribute
to decent work and eco- nomic growth. Moreover, we can preserve our water ecosystems, their biodiversity, and take action on climate change.
What would it cost to
correct the problem?
A study by the World Bank Group, UNICEF and the World Health Organization estimates that extending basic water and sanitation services to the unserved would cost US$28.4 bil- lion per year from 2015 to 2030, or 0.10 per
cent of the global prod- uct of the 140 countries included in its study.
What would it cost if we
don’t correct the problem?
The costs are huge– both for people and for the economy.
Worldwide, more than 2 million people die every year from diarrhoeal dis- eases. Poor hygiene and unsafe water are respon- sible for nearly 90 per cent of these deaths and mostly affect children.
The economic impact
of not investing in water and sanitation costs 4.3 per cent of sub-Saharan African GDP. The World Bank estimates that 6.4 per cent of India’s GDP is lost due to adverse eco- nomic impacts and costs of inadequate sanitation.
Without better infrastruc- ture and management, millions of people will continue to die every year and there will be further losses in biodiversity and ecosystem resilience, undermining prosperity
and efforts towards a more sustainable future.
What can we do?
Civil society organi- zations should work
to keep governments accountable, invest in water research and devel- opment, and promote
the inclusion of women, youth and indigenous communities in water resources governance.
Generating awareness of these roles and turn- ing them into action will lead to win-win results and increased sustain- ability and integrity
for both human and ecological systems.
You can also get involved in the World Water Day and World Toilet Day campaigns that aim to provide information and inspiration to take action on hygiene issues.
To find out more
about Goal #6 and
the other Sustainable Development Goals, visit: