SDG6 aims to "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all".

It has associated aims that include:
  • Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

  • Achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all.

  • 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.

  • Substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater.

  • Implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.

  • Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.

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


Billions of people worldwide still live without safely managed drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services critical for protecting human health. The world is not on track to achieving Goal 6. In 2020, almost a quarter of the global population did not have safe drinking water at home, and roughly half did not have adequate sanitation.

Freshwater ecosystems and the multitude of resources that they provide are changing dramatically. One-fifth of the world’s river basins are experiencing rapid increases or decreases in their surface water area. This unprecedented situation is made worse by pollution in large lakes and the persistent loss and degradation of wetlands and freshwater biodiversity.

Advancing transboundary water cooperation will help prevent conflicts and support regional integration, peace and sustainable development.

Pursuing improved water use efficiency will also help to reduce water stress in countries.
Sustainable Development Goal 6

How can an organisation pursue SDG6?

Access to water is essential to all business operations, but climate change, growing populations, and urbanisation pose significant supply risks to companies and the wider community. Companies are not doing worse than before, but they are still not doing enough.

  • Reduce clean water usage and wastewater discharges through changes to business processes and improved education.
  • Install rainwater capture systems to provide an alternative and complementary water supply.
  • Invest in water and sanitation projects or infrastructure in under-served regions. Ensure that all employees and their families have ample access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, and raise awareness about hygiene practices.

Purpose-led Leadership

Good Dividends in partnership with QuoLux™ provide purpose-led leadership training programmes to enable leaders to align their businesses with Sustainable Development Goals.